Spurs captain Kaboul hails defensive improvement and eyes more of the same at Man City
12:01 06 October 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Younes Kaboul believes Tottenham have made an important step up defensively and the captain has challenged his team-mates to show their new-found resilience at Manchester City after the international break.
Spurs have looked vulnerable at the back for much of the season, losing 3-0 at home against Liverpool at the end of August – and some feared the worst as the Lilywhites travelled to face Arsenal last weekend.
But, with Jan Vertonghen rejoining Kaboul at centre-back, Mauricio Pochettino’s side instantly looked much more solid, earning a creditable 1-1 draw at the Emirates – and they went on to beat Southampton 1-0 at home yesterday.
It is no coincidence that Spurs’ first clean sheet in five Premier League games resulted in their first top-flight victory in the same period, and Kaboul has been pleased with the improvement in the rearguard.
“Have things now clicked defensively? Yes, I feel that,” he said. “We feel we showed that we were solid against Arsenal.
“We showed that we were well organised and we just have to carry on like that and concentrate for 90 to 95 minutes in every game. It’s very important for us at the back, especially.
“It was not easy against a Southampton side who have played very well since the beginning of the season. They’ve beaten some big teams already, so we’re happy and delighted with this win. I think we played very good football at some points.”
Tottenham’s defence will certainly be tested when they return from the international break and travel to face reigning champions Man City.
Spurs conceded 11 goals against Manuel Pellegrini’s side last campaign, losing 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium last November before suffering a 5-1 home defeat in the reverse fixture in January – and Kaboul is keen to avoid a similar embarrassment on October 18.
“We need to be prepared, mentally and physically, of course,” said the skipper. “We need to produce a similar performance to the one against Arsenal.
“I know each game is different, but we need to learn from the Arsenal game because it is a big team and we are going to play a massive team again. We need to be similar but even better.
“Simply they are more of a threat up front [than Arsenal]. They’ve got a lot of players attacking and they are ready for the fight. They are champions of England so we need to produce a big performance there.
“What happened last season was last season. In football the most important thing is the present and we look at the future. We look forward to this game.
“When you lose, you learn, especially against Man City or Man United or Chelsea. We look forward to this game.
“We’ve got two weeks to prepare. It was very important to win this game because we’ve got a two-week break.
“Last time [before the international break] we didn’t and it was hard. This time we won and it’s very important because before the kick-off we were 12th in the table and now we’re sixth. We’re very happy.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs