Ramos ready for war
Juande Ramos has likened football to a 'war' as his Tottenham side prepare to meet Chelsea in the Carling Cup final.
The Spanish coach is hoping to enjoy similar success at White Hart Lane as he did during a trophy-laden spell in charge of previous club Sevilla and feels that his players must be prepared to dig deep in the next few weeks if they are to take anything from this season.
Sunday's Wembley showdown with Chelsea will provide Spurs with the opportunity to lift their first piece of silverware in nine years and could also give them an ideal platform on which to build future success.
Ramos certainly feels that his side are capable of claiming the trophy, but admits that they cannot afford to be overawed by the occasion.
"Football is like a war," he said.
"You either live or die, so there is no room for sentiment.
"To have a trophy now would take a lot of pressure off the team so that they can then work more calmly with the aim of then fighting to be up there with the best teams - to be in the top four, to go into the Champions League, to win more trophies.
"Winning this trophy would mean that we are one step closer to doing that."
One man who will be hoping to prevent Ramos from claiming his first trophy in English football is Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack.
The German international appears to have finally found his feet at Stamford Bridge after a host of injuries and a loss of form blighted his early progress in this country.
Now back to full fitness, and enjoying a regular spot in the fist-team, Ballack feels that he has only just begun to show the Chelsea faithful what he is capable of.
"I had some ups and downs and a long injury as well. After the injury I had to start again," he said.
"I want to show in the coming weeks and months why Chelsea bought me. It is not easy changing country.
"It is not an excuse. I am happy with my play. In my first year, Chelsea had a different style of playing.
"I came from (Bayern) Munich and in Munich I was the main player. Here we have a lot of big players so my style and the way of playing changed a bit.
"Chelsea won the title twice and you have to adapt and change. Every player needs time. Now I am here and everybody gives the ball to me.
"Everybody wants to play well and prove yourself.
"I got a lot criticism, especially in the first few months, but I know what I can do.
"I know I am a good player. You don't become a bad player overnight. It is all about the team and how to learn playing with Chelsea."