Football

Spurs ace: Everton defeat changed everything under AVB

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Walker has high hopes for Spurs this term (©GettyImages)
Walker has high hopes for Spurs this term (©GettyImages).

Kyle Walker says Tottenham's dramatic defeat against Everton at Goodison Park last season was a real turning point under boss Andre Villas-Boas.

Spurs racked up a record points haul last season but still failed to break to top four, eventually missing out by a point to rivals Arsenal.

Villas-Boas's side have started the new campaign solidly and currently occupy 4th place with nine games gone.

A tough trip to an in-form Everton under new boss Roberto Martinez awaits them this weekend and they'll be hoping for a win to consolidate their place in the race for Champions League football.

Last season they looked set to do just that at Goodison Park thanks to a deflected strike from Clint Dempsey - however two injury-time strikes swung the game in Everton's favour.

Walker, who recently penned a new deal at White Hart Lane, says it was that game back in December that prompted the most change as the north London club looked to fulfil their top four ambitions.

“There has been a lot of chopping and changing in the defence during the last couple of seasons but since the back end of last season we have stayed solid,” the England defender told the Evening Standard.

“Chucking away goals in injury time is silly and we did have a massive learning curve after the game. Every memory of a defeat like that is bad.

“The manager [Andre Villas-Boas] wasn’t happy and that game is something we need to put right on Sunday. As a result of that defeat, we changed the way we trained, increasing the level at the end of the sessions, and it certainly helped.

“It’s all about concentration — if you switch off at the end of training, you’re going to switch off at the end of the match. You have to train how you play and then take that into the games.”

Although Spurs' points haul is impressive already this term - they've recorded their best ever Premier League start - all has not gone smoothly so far.

Villas-Boas was critical of the White Hart Lane crowd after their 1-0 win against Hull last weekend for the lack of support shown by fans who had seemingly grown frustrated with their side's lack of attacking penetration.

There is hope Spurs will be able to walk away with points this weekend given their impressive record on the road under Villas-Boas, and Walker says it is no coincidence that Tottenham tend to do well away from home.

“Away from home, the pressure is off us and we have freedom to express ourselves,” he admitted.

“At home, it’s different, where a lot of teams are coming to park the bus. It’s something we have to deal with.

“Even Barcelona have struggled when teams play like that against them, and we have to find a way around it and show patience. But Everton have done really well this season, they will take the game to us and that will probably work in our favour.

“Both Merseyside clubs have started the season really well and with Everton, every player they sign seems to fit in straightaway. Romelu Lukaku is on fire.”

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Kyle Walker
Tottenham Hotspur
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