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Spurs star insists: Team spirit is high under Villas-Boas

Tottenham's Lewis Holtby (centre) celebrates his 82nd-minute winner against Fulham at Craven Cottage last night Tottenham's Lewis Holtby (centre) celebrates his 82nd-minute winner against Fulham at Craven Cottage last night

Thursday, December 5, 2013
12:25 PM

Lewis Holtby says that a close-knit Tottenham squad are ignoring negativity from outside and are committed to improving and gelling under Andre Villas-Boas.

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Spurs’ head coach has found himself in the media spotlight following a poor run of results in November, with the Lilywhites collecting one point from a possible nine – culminating in a humiliating 6-0 thrashing away at Manchester City – and dropping into ninth place.

Villas-Boas was angered by some of the reaction in the press as speculation about his position and his relationship with his players increased - and he made his feelings known in a press conference following Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United at White Hart Lane.

Spurs looked to be in trouble again last night as they trailed 1-0 to struggling Fulham at Craven Cottage – but the visitors came from behind to win after goals from Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby, who insists that all is well inside the camp.

“I don’t really read newspapers, I can just say how the team is and if you go to the training ground every day, the team spirit is very high,” he said. “There is a lot of friendship between a lot of the players.

“We all stick behind the gaffer, we give our best. Of course we had a tough time in November but last night we got a good result at a difficult place. Now we need another three points from the Sunderland game.

“He [Villas-Boas] bonds us together and is very close to the team. Everyone accepts him and his way of playing football.

“There is a lot of negativity coming from outside but we are all sticking together. Bringing this bad mood into the team won’t help. We’re positive and we know that the season is long.

“We’re sticking together, we’re not discussing things that are happening outside – that’s not our job. Our job is to get points, to win games and make the fans happy.

“We have to do our talking on the pitch. We were responsible for that disaster at Manchester City but the way we responded after that has been good. We have to carry on doing that.

“This is a new team, we have bought a lot of players and you need to give them time - people like [Erik] Lamela, who don’t speak the English language.

“Every game it is coming, we will get to know each other better and better. We are doing an ok job but we are getting there. I hope we can get a winning streak now.”

Holtby’s decisive 20-yard strike against Fulham was his second goal for Spurs, and his first in the Premier League following his arrival from Schalke in January.

“I’ve been waiting for that goal for a long time,” he said. “I had scored in the Europa League but to score the winning goal in a derby in the Premier League, I was buzzing.

“I was flying somewhere else, I had a pulse of maybe 250 for my celebration. Days like this, that’s why you play football.”

Tottenham are back on the road again on Saturday as they travel to face Sunderland, and Holtby added: “There are games every three days in December so we have to be up for it every time.

“Last season, we did really well during this time and got ourselves [towards] the top of the table. The fixtures we have are very important now and there is a possibility of getting a lot of points.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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