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Lawrence: "I'm a huge Arsenal fan so the derby against Tottenham is the best one for me"

Like the rest of his teammates, James Lawrence put in an excellent performance in the 2-1 DFB Cup defeat of Borussia Dortmund. The Wales international, who along with Jakov Medić kept the highly rated Erling Haaland quiet for almost the entire evening, took time out on Wednesday to field questions from the Hamburg media.

James Lawrence on...

...the significance of the cup win over BVB: "The club last reached the quarter-finals in 2006, so it's obviously incredible for the fans. It's great for them that we're in the next round. We have to wait and see now who we get in the quarter-final. It's a shame there were only 2,000 fans in the ground against Dortmund. They get us an amazing reception when we arrived on the bus, which gave us a good feeling for the game."

...starting the game and going up against Erling Haaland: "I only really knew I would play just before the game but you could already see a hint of how we'd be playing in training on Monday. We had a plan of how we can put them under pressure, defend and stay solid as a team. We assumed they'd only play with one striker up top and would attack us more down the flanks before cutting inside. Jakov and I knew we'd often be two on one against Haaland during the game. We played with two holding midfielders in front of us to close down the centre. It worked really well because Haaland didn't get too many balls, though Jakov and I did a good job of covering and marking him as well. I didn't swap shirts with him after the game, I swapped with Jude Bellingham. I was chatting to him and with both of us being from the UK we agreed to swap shirts."

...the competition for places in central defence: "We have three great centre-backs, Jakov Medić and Philipp Ziereis have been outstanding. It's hard for the coach to make a decision. You have to accept it if you don't play. Everyone knows we're a team and everyone has to be there for the team if they don't play. We go together, we work together, we play together. That's the most important thing with this team."

...the best local derbies in his opinion: "I'm a huge Arsenal fan so the derby against Tottenham is the best one for me. Here I've played in the derby against HSV twice. I experienced my first derby two weeks after arriving at the Millerntor and it was an outstanding feeling because we won it."


Photos: Witters