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Heroic King will pay heavy price for Carling Cup exploits

PUBLISHED: 11:58 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:00 07 September 2010

LEDLEY King is almost certain to pay a heavy price for his heroic extra-time display in Sunday s Carling Cup final shoot-out defeat against Manchester United at Wembley. The Spurs club captain was pressed into action when fellow central defender Jonathan

LEDLEY King is almost certain to pay a heavy price for his heroic extra-time display in Sunday's Carling Cup final shoot-out defeat against Manchester United at Wembley.

The Spurs club captain was pressed into action when fellow central defender Jonathan Woodgate picked up an Achilles injury in training the day before.

King, who does not train between games because of his ongoing knee problems, partnered Michael Dawson through the goal-less 120 minutes against the champions of Europe.

But King's heavy shift ruled him out of Wednesday night's 4-0 Premier League romp against Middlesbrough at the Lane and he must be rated highly doubtful for tomorrow's clash with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

"Once you are out there, there is nothing you can do about it," said King.

"You play as long as you have to. It was not easy out there but there were other players who were tired in both teams. It was not really a problem."

King may not have started against United had Woodgate been fit but the club captain admitted it made manager Harry Redknapp's decision easier.

"I trained on Saturday and seemed OK," said King. "I didn't know what the team was going to be but it [Woodgate's injury] probably made it easier."

King has 18 months left on his current deal but is putting his team's Premier League survival bid ahead of sorting out his contract. "To be honest, I am just thinking about playing for the rest of the league season," he said. "At the moment I want to see the season out and play as many games as I can. That [the contract] will take care of itself."

Despite the 4-1 defeat in the shoot-out King feels Tottenham can still hold their heads high. "Penalties is never a nice way to lose," he said. "We are aware in finals that one team has to win and one team has to lose, but I thought we gave a good account of ourselves.

"People will say they [United] had a weakened team but they still had top players out in a team they obviously thought could win.

"We thought we could win it and we created some good chances during the game. We got a little bit tired and we had to hang on. But I can't fault the lads for the effort we put in.

"After not being in finals for such a long time it was good for us to be in back-to-back finals.

"It gives us confidence, going on these cup runs, and playing the big teams in finals."

King had a special word of praise for one of the the players who failed to score in the shoot-out - young Jamie O'Hara, whose first spot kick was saved by United keeper Ben Foster.

"This can be a cruel game," said King. "I said to him, he was the one who put himself up there to miss. It is down to us as players and team-mates to try to lift his spirits. We win as a team and lose as a team. We are not picking anyone out."

Now, King wants his deflated team-mates to forget the pain of the Wembley defeat and focus on preserving their Premier League status - starting at Sunderland.

"We have proved on our day that we can compete with the top four sides," he said.

"But we are not consistent enough, and we have to try to transform the form that we show in the cup to the league. We've already started thinking about the remaining league games."

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk

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