Jose Baxter has warned Tottenham Hotspur they face being dragged into the trenches during tomorrow night’s Capital One Cup semi-final at White Hart Lane, writes James Shield.
And the Sheffield United midfielder insisted the visitors should offer no apology for adopting a strong-arm approach because it represents their best opportunity of beating Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
“The Premier League is an unbelievable league, probably the best in the world,” Baxter said. “But then teams aren’t used to getting barged about, having people in their faces, kicking them and not helping them up when they get knocked over. It works for us though.
“There’s a lot of matey matey stuff in the game these days. I’ve got a couple of mates in football but I don’t like all of that hugging and kissing each other before matches. I don’t like to see it at all.
“It’s a bit crazy but that’s probably why they are where they are, the lads at that level. They’re nice, they don’t want to get kicked and they’re all great, technical players.
“It’s just when they come to play us and we give them a few kicks, they don’t like it.
“My best mate, James Wallace, is in the same team as me now. But if I was playing against him, I wouldn’t speak to him until the game had finished. As simple as that.”
United have dispatched West Ham and Southampton en route to the last four of the competition and Baxter, who progressed through the ranks at Everton, added: “You look at the Premier League and it’s all nice football.
“Marc McNulty, our striker against Southampton, is a prime example. We clipped the ball down the channels and he really got into their centre-halves. I think they were a bit shocked by that.
“They don’t really get that in the Premier League. Everything’s to feet, so nice and precise.
“They don’t really touch each other and it’s not like that in our league.
“I know Eric Dier was at Goodison Park with us. It’ll be nice to see him but I won’t be helping him up, I’ll be kicking him further down.
“But he’s a big lad, so I think he’ll be kicking me.”
United, who host Spurs in the second-leg of their double-header at Bramall Lane next week, also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup last term. Baxter scored the opening goal as Nigel Clough’s players threatened to upset Hull City before eventually succumbing 5-3.
“We’ve obviously got respect for Spurs and we can play good stuff ourselves,” he said. “They’ve got some great players, we know that.
“But we’ll go out there to boss them about and do things to them that Premier League teams aren’t usually forced to do. If you think you just have to turn up to beat a League One team, you’ve got another thing coming.
“A win for us would perfect but if it’s a 1-1 or a 2-1 then we can get back to our place and think ‘hang on a minute’. As long as we get a goal, you never know.”