Kyle Walker has challenged Tottenham to prove their top-four credentials over the festive period.
Tottenham suffered their worst defeat in 17 years two weeks ago when they were hammered 6-0 by Manchester City, but morale has been lifted since thanks to a win over Tromso and a creditable 2-2 draw against Manchester United.
Spurs played well for the majority of their stalemate with the champions, but manager Andre Villas-Boas knows he will only give his critics more ammunition if his team fail to beat lowly Fulham tonight.
Villas-Boas spent over £100 million (€120m) on seven new signings in the summer while the club also invested a lot of money on the players who were already on the books at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham recovered from an early wobble to go on a run of one defeat in 16 matches earlier this year, and with the squad they now have at their disposal, Walker thinks they should be able to repeat that kind of streak.
“I think we can (go on that kind of run) again. With the players we have, why not? The players in the dressing room know we have to dig deep, show why we are playing for Tottenham, why we are playing for such a big club, a top-four club and prove to the fans and the gaffer and the chairman why they put the faith in us.”
If current form is anything to go on, Fulham will prove to be the ideal opponents for Tottenham. The Cottagers have lost their last six games and their last run out was the dismal 3-0 defeat to West Ham which cost Martin Jol his job.
Fulham’s players will be out to impress new manager Rene Meulensteen, however, and Villas-Boas knows it would be foolish to write the west London club off.
“Both teams are looking for a result to bounce back,” the Spurs boss said.
“It can launch either team’s season.”
Although Spurs have a packed schedule coming up, Villas-Boas will be loathe to make serious changes to his team for the Fulham game after Sunday’s encouraging result. Still, he admits he is pondering a change in formation from 4-2-3-1 to the 4-4-2 system some fans yearn for so much.
“We can probably look at it,” the former Chelsea boss said.
“It depends. We have been successful in some way with one off the striker but there is a possibility.”
Meulensteen, meanwhile, has challenged his team to stand up and take responsibility for their own form — starting tonight.
“We need to make sure players take responsibility, with work-rate and their discipline,” Meulensteen said. “Fulham have had too many poor results and we must now create a platform to get away from our position.”
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