Spurs star: We showed our belief at Aston Villa but must be more clinical
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 November 2014 | UPDATED: 12:07 03 November 2014
Nacer Chadli says Tottenham showed mental strength and a new belief in their dramatic victory at Villa Park yesterday, but the Belgian has urged his team-mates to be more clinical to make such games easier for themselves in future.
Tottenham had 18 shots against Villa, who were reduced to 10 men after the hour-mark as Christian Benteke was dismissed, but only seven of them were on target and the Lilywhites were trailing 1-0 in the 84th minute.
However, Chadli equalised from a corner to register his fifth goal of the season, and the in-form substitute Harry Kane then stepped up to score a 90th-minute free kick and earn an unlikely triumph for the visitors.
Chadli said: “Last season, in that kind of game, we lost them - we couldn’t fight back. We showed belief this time that we could come back into the game, and we did it.
“I think everybody believed in it. Personally, all the way through the game I believed that we could score one or two goals and we did it and that’s why - because everybody believed in it. That’s the most important thing.
“It was an open game. We had a lot of chances and Villa had chances in the first half too. They scored first and it was bad for us but we came back into the game. In the last 30 minutes we played well and we fought back.
“Does it feel like we’re improving? I think we are defensively more compact, more strong and we’re creating as well in every game.
“In the first half we didn’t score but we had some chances and it was good that we scored two goals to win the game.
“We have to be sharper and if we do that then we can score a lot of goals in those kind of games.”
Kane was Spurs’ hero again, coming off the bench to score his ninth goal in 13 games for his club – plus three in four games for England’s Under-21s.
The 21-year-old’s technique for the free kick was reminiscent of the strikes that Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have perfected, kicking straight through the ball to generate an unpredictable swerve.
Kane’s effort was a little too low and took a big deflection off the wall to wrong-foot Brad Guzan and sail into the net – but Chadli says the forward has been practising that style of set piece and has been hugely impressed by his team-mate’s progress.
“When I came to Tottenham I hadn’t heard of him, but I’ve been used to training with him and I could see that he’s a very talented man and he has a great future,” said the Belgian midfielder.
“He’s using that technique to make the ball change direction and he does it quite well. I’m very happy he did it this time.
“He practises quite a lot in training - free kicks and just hitting cleanly. He has a great shot and he still practises that - that’s good. He’s a young talented player and I’m very happy and pleased for him that he made an impact.
“Could he play for England this season? I think it’s up to him and to the manager of the national team, but of course he has a lot of quality and he can make some impact.”
The compact nature of the Premier League table meant there was a sizeable swing in Spurs’ fortunes yesterday.
Defeat would have left them 15th, three points above the relegation zone. Instead, their victory took them up to eighth place, three points outside the top four.
Spurs’ head coach and players have avoided talking about their top-four chances so far this season and, when asked about Spurs’ ambitions, Chadli followed suit.
“I think we have to do the best we can, like we did in this game, and then we’ll see where we’re going to land in the Europa League and the two cups in England,” he said. “We want to go as far as possible.”