AVB and Dempsey winning over sceptics

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Coventry City 0

Saturday’s FA Cup victory over Coventry was their ninth win in 11 games, with only one defeat in the past seven weeks, and although the opposition are 53 places below them, Spurs showed their intent with three goals in 25 minutes to wrap the game up before half-time.

Clint Dempsey scored twice and is also winning over those fans who thought Spurs were ‘trading down’ when they signed him in place of Rafael Van der Vaart. But Dempsey has now scored six, got five assists and helped Spurs up to third in the Premier League.

“It’s great to be part of the team during this period and it’s about doing something special this year,” he said. “We want to do well in all the competitions and finish in a position to qualify for the Champions League and hopefully we can do that.

“There’s a lot of quality in the team and everybody wants to play as much as possible. When you get your chance you want to take it. A lot of players can play in plenty of positions, so it gives us lots of options and flexibility.”

Daniel Levy is hoping to sign Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao after being priced out of a deal in the past and the club have signed a pre-contract agreement for Germany’s U21 captain Lewis Holtby next summer.

“I worked for the German FA where he is captain of the U21 side. He is a really good character. He loves England, his father is English so everything comes together. His natural position is the number 10. He is really skilful and the perfect signing for our philosophy,” said assistant manager Steffen Freund.

Dempsey will not give up that position easily, though.

“I’ve got six goals and five assists so far. I like to score goals and give assists, so it’s good to be getting those stats up and contributing to helping this team do well. But I still want to be doing better than I am.”

Emmanuel Adebayor has been called by the president of Togo to change his mind and represent the country in the Africa Cup of Nations, which would leave Jermain Defoe as the club’s only striker but Dempsey says he is ready to play “wherever they want me”.

“It’s what I’ve done throughout my career. I think I can play a number of different positions for this team. I just have to make sure when I get opportunities I take them and do well.”

Tottenham’s prospects have also been boosted by the return from injury of Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Scott Parker, who started a game for the first time since ankle surgery last summer.

“We have competition for every position so we know if someone is injured or not playing well we know we can change something and I think that’s very positive,” said Freund.

TOTTENHAM (4-4-1-1): Friedel 7; Naughton 7, Dawson 6, Caulker 7, Assou-Ekotto 7; Sigurdsson 7, Parker 8, Huddlestone 7, Bale 8; Dempsey 8; Adebayor 5.

Subs: Townsend for Bale 70, Dembele for Parker 80, Carroll for Sigurdsson 80.

COVENTRY 4-5-1: Murphy 8; Adams 6, Edjenguele 7, Wood 6, J Clarke 6; Baker 6, McSheffrey 6, Jennings 7, Moussa 5, Bailey 6; L Clarke 5.

Subs: Barton for Moussa 50, Thomas for Bailey 58, Fleck for Jennings 70.

Ref: M Naylor.

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