December 5 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Lewis Holtby says the Tottenham fans are now starting to see the best of him following his January move to White Hart Lane.
The Germany Under-21 captain was a £1.5million steal from Schalke in the winter window and, although he admits he initially struggled to make an impact in the second half of last season, he has scored one goal and set up another four in his six appearances so far this campaign.
“It’s always tough to come in winter,” he said. “You have to get along with the lads and you have to adjust to the way that they play as well.
“I didn’t do the best that I can do last season, but I’ve progressed and now I think I’m getting more involved and learning everyone’s runs even better - especially JD [Jermain Defoe].
“I feel very comfortable and very proud to be here at this club, and I just try to do the things that I do best, and that’s sticking people in in tight boxes.”
Holtby appeared as a substitute in yesterday’s Premier League clash with Chelsea, and his three starts have all come in the Europa League and Capital One Cup.
That has seen him playing behind Defoe on all three occasions, and the pair are likely to join forces again on Thursday when Spurs travel to Russia to face Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League – but Holtby is also keen to earn his first start behind Roberto Soldado.
“Of course, he’s is a fantastic striker - I hope one day I can play behind him,” said the 23-year-old. “Especially with JD and all the other players we’ve got, it’s easy for a No10 or a central midfielder to put these players in because they make some wonderful movements, and I’m just happy to be here.
“I think we’re in good form, playing a wonderful season. We have to keep on progressing. It’s another big game on Thursday to get another three points in the Europa League, and then we’ve got West Ham at home.
“We’ve got a couple of games now where we have to get some points and stay up top and defend our place in the top four.
“Our main aim is to get Champions League football. I think we’ve got the quality and the ability in the whole squad to do that, I’m very confident - but it’s a long season and everyone has to be at the top level to reach that.”
Tottenham briefly went to the top of the Premier League yesterday after playing out a 1-1 draw with their London rivals Chelsea, before Arsenal overtook them in the late kick-off.
Spurs dominated the first half and went into the interval with a deserved lead through Gylfi Sigurdsson, but Jose Mourinho’s Blues were on top for most of the second period and earned a share of the spoils from a John Terry header.
“What changed at half-time? With [Juan] Mata, a world-class player came into the side and he had a good game,” said Holtby. “It was a deserved point at both ends in the end.
“Just before half-time we could have snatched a second one, or even at the end with the couple of chances maybe we could have snatched it, but at the end it’s deserved.
“The manager didn’t really speak a lot after the game. I think he was proud of us and how we committed to the game and how we fight week in and week out. We’ve had a lot of games now in the last couple of weeks so everyone’s just done a fantastic job.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs