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Spurs captain: ‘Blackout’ was unacceptable - and we looked defeated after equaliser

12:00 27 October 2014

Younes Kaboul

Younes Kaboul

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Captain Younes Kaboul says Tottenham’s “blackout” after half-time yesterday was unacceptable – and he believes Spurs “looked defeated” as soon as they conceded the equaliser in their 2-1 home defeat against Newcastle.

The Lilywhites looked comfortable at the break at White Hart Lane, leading 1-0 after Emmanuel Adebayor’s header.

However, the Magpies levelled eight seconds after the restart, with half-time substitute Sammy Ameobi catching Eric Dier napping, racing onto Jack Colback’s long ball and finishing past Hugo Lloris.

A shocked Spurs side then went on to concede a second goal just before the hour-mark as Ayoze Perez headed home, inflicting Tottenham’s third home defeat in four league games.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Kaboul. “We started the game well and the most difficult task was to score, which we did, and the first half was comfortable. We had the ball, took our chance but then it was blackout, straight away.

“We came back on the pitch not thinking. He [Dier] missed the pass and he [Ameobi] went through to score. We have to be more brave and focused straight away. I think it was five seconds or something and it shows you that at this level there is no mercy. If you’re not focused, brave and ready, you pay the price straight away.

“Was it a concentration issue? That’s maybe the word. We need to be focused and brave, we should not concede goals like that. If he scores an unbelievable goal you can’t say anything, but from where it started and where it ended, it’s not acceptable.”

The finger might be pointed at the manager after such a disaster immediately after the interval, but Kaboul insists Mauricio Pochettino said all the right things during the break.

“When the gaffer spoke at half-time, he told us to be brave and ready for the second one and to win the game, concentrate and focus,” said the skipper. “Then five seconds and they scored.

“Of course we tried to score the second one but it didn’t happen and we looked defeated on the pitch. I think Newcastle saw that and they thought ‘yeah, why not, we’re going to win this game’ - and they did it.

“We looked beaten when they scored to make it 1-1, straight away it was another game. It was like the first half was last weekend - it disappeared. Then we conceded the second one. We had chances to come back 2-2, but it was really hard.

“Do we need more character in the squad? Maybe, yes. When you concede a goal straight away coming back on the pitch, you need to reply immediately.

“You need to send a big sign that we’re here, and say ‘ok, you scored early and we’re going to reply to you straight away’.

“Have I spoken to the players? It’s hard in the heat of the moment. Sometimes you can say some wrong stuff. It’s better that you analyse it first on the video clips, and then talk.

“We need to be more consistent and regular and more mature on the pitch. It’s about knowing how to control the game, kill the game, knowing how to defend all together in certain phases of the game, and for us to be more confident also.”

Tottenham’s latest defeat left them 11th in the Premier League table after nine games – just one point above a Newcastle side who only recorded their first league win last weekend, and three points above the relegation zone.

The only good news is the inconsistency of many of the other top teams, and the fact that Spurs are still only five points outside the top four.

But, asked whether a challenge for Champions League qualification is a realistic goal, Kaboul did not sound entirely confident.

“Of course we want to but the most important thing for us this season is to finish as high as we can,” he said. “We want to improve and we work very hard, trust me, and we want to improve at any point.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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