December 18 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Monday, October 7, 2013
Mousa Dembele says Tottenham must learn from their surprise defeat against West Ham and motivate themselves to perform against the Premier League’s lesser sides if they want to become title contenders.
The Irons had failed to score in four of their previous six top-flight fixtures and sat 17th in the table before the weekend, while Spurs had won nine of their 11 games in all competitions and kept clean sheets in all of those victories.
However, Sam Allardyce’s visitors upset the form guide, triumphing 3-0 at White Hart Lane in Sunday’s London derby – and Dembele feels the Spurs squad have discovered the danger of complacency.
“You look at the top teams. If you want to be champions, you have to win these ‘small games’,” he said. “You can see it’s the difference with the guys who become champions - they win these games. If we want to be there with the top four we need to win them too.
“It’s easier to play against the top teams for the motivation, but if we want to be a top team we need to be focused for these kinds of games.
“It’s a mental thing. We have to talk with the team and we need to concentrate together. We have a lot of players and you can change the team very quickly, so everyone needs to know it’s a difficult season.
“We looked much better in the first half than the second. In the second half we looked very tired and there was not too much passion. You have to win these kinds of games if you want to have a good season so it’s a shame.
“I’ve played a few times against these kinds of teams. We have to know how to play and we have to know that we should be very careful, because these are good teams as well.
“They have a different kind of style but it’s the Premier League - you have to be used to these days so it’s a shame we weren’t prepared.
“You want to go into the international break with a good feeling, so that’s a shame as well. The manager was very disappointed, I think it’s normal.”
West Ham played without a striker at White Hart Lane, packing the midfield to deny Spurs space and then breaking effectively in the second half – but Dembele denies that Tottenham were surprised by the Irons’ tactics.
“Of course I’ve come up against it, not only in the Premier League, but in Europe,” he said. “There are a lot of teams who do it so we know these kinds of systems.
“It’s a different kind of style but a lot of players have played against it and we’ve won a lot of times against these kind of systems.”