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Holtby reveals the reasons for Tottenham’s improved goal tally

Lewis Holtby celebrates his goal against Anzhi at White Hart Lane on Thursday night with a Klinsmann dive Lewis Holtby celebrates his goal against Anzhi at White Hart Lane on Thursday night with a Klinsmann dive

Saturday, December 14, 2013
9:00 AM

Lewis Holtby believes Tottenham’s improvement in front of goal is due to increased numbers in the box – and he feels he may be able to contribute more to Spurs’ tally in a deeper-lying midfield role.

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Andre Villas-Boas’ side mustered just nine goals in their first 12 Premier League games of the season, but they have been more prolific in recent outings, netting twice against Manchester United, Fulham and Sunderland in the top flight.

That was followed by a 4-1 victory over Russian outfit Anzhi on Thursday night, with Roberto Soldado scoring a hat-trick after previously going five games without finding the mark.

Holtby got the other goal of the night, and he said: “Scoring four goals was a very good thing for the team, especially Robbie, who has had a tough time in the last couple of weeks – but he scored three goals this time.

“It’s very important for him, and for the team, who can score good goals. The movement was fantastic. For me personally, I’m very happy to have gone another one, and I hope I can keep that going.

“What’s changed in front of goal? I think the belief in ourselves and the way we want to play. The movement up front and the numbers in the box have changed.

“I came from midfield [on Thursday], and Andros [Townsend] played a beautiful little ball in to me. That’s what we need - we need numbers in the box, and players available in the box to score goals.

“In the last couple of games we’ve created so many chances, and that’s very good for us. The belief goes up and now is the right moment to play Liverpool because, in our heads, we’ve got the winning mentality and the way of scoring goals again.

Holtby added: “In the last few [league] games we’ve averaged two goals per game - that’s very positive for us and we have to keep that momentum going now.

“We’ve had four good games and bounced back from that disaster at Manchester City. I think the confidence is now up to a level where we can play against a very good Liverpool side, who will come here and give us a right battle - but we are up for it and we have to play our attacking football.”

Holtby has spent much of the campaign playing in the No10 role, but he was deployed in a deeper-lying position against Fulham and Anzhi – and he scored on both occasions, giving him two goals in the last three games.

“I feel comfortable in midfield and I like to get on the ball, especially in deeper positions,” he said. “Against Fulham I got my goal when I played in that No6 role, so I think when I come from that deeper position on the ball I can have a crack on the goal.

“[Against Anzhi] I saw Andros cutting inside and I saw that gap, with no-one marking me. If I play as No10, then their No6 takes me on, but at No6 no-one really follows you so I have so much space and the way I scored that goal really pleased me.”

Holtby celebrated with a Klinsmann dive for the second time this season, having previously emulated the Tottenham and Germany legend’s famous leap when he scored his first goal for Spurs against Dinamo Tbilisi in August.

The 23-year-old said: “The last time I scored [at Fulham last week] I had a celebration with my good mate Kyle Walker, but he wasn’t on the pitch this time so I had to think back to my first one.

“They call me ‘Jurgen the German’ here – especially Andros – so I thought of him again. It wasn’t the best idea on that very dry pitch, because some parts of my body got some of that…”

Tottenham are now gearing up to host Liverpool at White Hart Lane, with Brendan Rodgers’ Reds sitting in second spot – just three points ahead of sixth-placed Spurs.

“In the last couple of games you have seen how deadly they are, especially with [Luis] Suarez up front in cracking form - but we have the ability to stop him,” said Holtby. “If you see the game when they lost against Hull City, they did really well against Suarez defensively, and we have to do similar things.

“With that momentum we have now - that winning streak and these good performances in the last two weeks - we have to show it against a big side like Liverpool, especially at home.

“It’s a massive, massive game [if we want] to keep up top. If we win that game, we could bounce maybe into second or third place, and that’s what we’re aiming for.”

Holtby has revealed that he is under added pressure from his friends and family.

“I don’t want to tell you what he [my dad] told me - he’s a die-hard Everton fan and we’re playing against the Reds,” said the German. “He wants us to win.

“I’ve got a lot of Everton-supporting mates and they all wish me a lot of luck, especially three points - but I don’t want to convey what they texted me.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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