Crouch: I can help Spurs to grab the headlines again

HAVING waited for a month to get his first Premier League start for Tottenham, Peter Crouch would have been hoping for a better result on Saturday. Unfortunately for the 28-year-old striker, his introduction to the starting line-up coincided with the end...

By Ben Pearce

HAVING waited for a month to get his first Premier League start for Tottenham, Peter Crouch would have been hoping for a better result on Saturday.

Unfortunately for the 28-year-old striker, his introduction to the starting line-up coincided with the end of Spurs' perfect start.

The defeat at the weekend was the first match the Lilywhites had not won since the start of the campaign, and it also produced their first loss at White Hart Lane in 2009, ending a 17-match unbeaten run that stretched back to November.


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More to the point, the 3-1 reverse against Sir Alex Ferguson's reigning champions served as a reality check for Tottenham, whose much-hyped assault on the top four had been fuelled by the opening-day victory over Liverpool.

Spurs may have failed their most recent test against the 'Big Four', but Crouch knows that he and his team-mates can immediately retake their examination on Sunday.

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And the lanky frontman is well aware that Tottenham will be the team of the moment again if they can end Chelsea's own 100 per cent start to the season at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

"It's another chance to see quite how close [to the top teams] we are against Chelsea, which will be another very difficult game. If we can get a result there people will start talking us up again," he said.

"If you sit off these teams, like we did in the second half on Saturday, they'll punish you, and Chelsea are the same. We've got to keep pressing them at every opportunity, force them into errors and not let them play.

"That's what we've been fantastic at this season, working hard. With the quality we've got we can always play, but we've got to make sure we work hard and match them in that area."

While Spurs are looking positively at a second successive chance to undermine the top four, Crouch must be increasingly optimistic about his own second shot at a successful Tottenham career.

The 6ft 7ins target man never played for the first team during his first spell in N17 between 1998 and 2000 and, having re-signed in July for �9million, he was surprisingly named on the bench for the first four league games.

Also overlooked by England manager Fabio Capello last month, as the Italian boss picked his squad for the friendly against Holland, Crouch may momentarily have regretted his move to north London - Spurs boss Harry Redknapp even admitted that he was "worried for him" with the World Cup on the horizon.

But, having netted against Doncaster in the Carling Cup and then against Birmingham in the league, Crouch was selected for the latest Three Lions squad, and has now forced his way into Redknapp's starting XI.

And, after enjoying his duel with United's Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, he is hoping to get the nod again on Sunday as Spurs seek for a way past the Chelsea rearguard.

"I was pleased to start [against United] and felt I was causing problems," said Crouch. "I hit the bar - it was a little bit too high for me - and I was pleased to get 90 minutes. It was my first in the Premier League, and I'm hoping I can continue to play and form a partnership with Jermain [Defoe].

"Vidic is a tough customer, and I had a real battle with him. I thought a couple of times the free-kicks didn't go my way when I couldn't see a foul. I enjoyed the battle. Out there against two of the world's best centre-halves, I thought I held my own.

"Of course it will be the same at Chelsea. We've got fantastic defenders in the Premier League, that's what you expect, but I'm confident in my ability and I can always do well.

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