Brad Friedel insists Tottenham are not crumbling under pressure

 

Brad Friedel has told Arsenal fans to put their celebrations on ice and insists Tottenham are not crumbling under pressure despite almost slipping to a fourth straight defeat last night.

Just four weeks ago Tottenham looked set to extend their lead over Arsenal to 13 points, but a stunning second-half comeback from the Gunners in the north London derby sparked a downward spiral that has seen Harry Redknapp's team go on to claim one point from their last four games.

That point came in last night's game against Stoke where Rafael van der Vaart headed home Gareth Bale's cross in the 93rd minute to salvage a draw for the home side, who are now outside the top three for the first time in over three months.

Tottenham are four points in front of fifth-place Chelsea ahead of Saturday's game at the Blues and now trail Arsenal by one point.

Gunners fans wasted no time in taunting their rivals after they beat Everton to leapfrog Tottenham last night, but Friedel insists the race for third place in the Barclays Premier League is far from over.

"We'll see in nine games' time," the Spurs goalkeeper said when asked about Arsenal's resurgence.

"You can't look forward five or six games in the Premier League and say 'oh that one's going to be tough and that one's going to be winnable'. It's impossible. The Premier League doesn't work like that.

"We're not concerned at all," he added

"We'll go in and do a cool-down (today) and we'll get prepared for Chelsea. We will go into that game very confident expecting to get a good result."

After going on an 11-match unbeaten run towards the end of 2011 many, including Redknapp, had predicted Spurs would be challenging for the title by the end of the year.

The club's critics say a lack of experience of such a high-pressure scenario has led to them to fall out of the title race and it now appears Tottenham will be battling with Chelsea for the remaining Champions League qualification spot.

Friedel insists the Spurs squad are not despondent over their recent slump, however, adding: "It's definitely not all doom and gloom.

"It's definitely not a pressure situation where the lads are losing confidence. I've seen that happen many times and that's not what's happening right now."

Last night marked the first time that a game had been played at White Hart Lane since the tragic collapse of Fabrice Muamba during Tottenham's FA Cup quarter-final against Bolton on Saturday.

Friedel and the rest of the Spurs squad have been offered counselling as they attempt to come to terms with the horrifying scenes following the midfielder's cardiac arrest.

The American goalkeeper admits seeing Muamba collapse was a horrible experience but has been encouraged by the improvements in the 23-year-old's health.

"We're told it's unbelievable how much against the odds he was and where he's at now," Friedel added.

"Nobody wants to see anything of that nature. You don't want to see something small like a hamstring injury let alone what occurred here the other night."

Stoke had taken the lead through Cameron Jerome in the 75th minute and looked set to be the only team other than both Manchester sides, to do the double over Spurs until Van der Vaart's injury-time equaliser.

Potters boss Tony Pulis was disappointed to see his team concede so late but was still proud of their efforts and now hopes they can go on a run until the end of the season.

"We're desperate to get as many points as we can and this result will give us a tremendous lift for the run-in," he said.

"If you look at some of the other teams who played in the (FA Cup) quarter-finals at the weekend - Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton and Sunderland - they all lost their Premier League matches this week, so it was a great effort by the lads."

Tottenham announced today that they will play the Los Angeles Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls in a pre-season tour of the United States this summer.

The game against the Galaxy on July 24 will hold a particular significance for the club as former Spurs skipper Robbie Keane and ex-England captain David Beckham play for the MLS side.

Spurs will also line up against former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry when they take on the Red Bulls in the inaugural New York Invitational Cup on July 31.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, a former Seattle Sounders player who took Spurs to the US for their pre-season tour two years ago, said: "Playing the winners of the MLS Cup in LA Galaxy will provide a real challenge.

"Any team that includes proven international performers like Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and David Beckham are sure to be top drawer.

"I have fantastic memories of America from my days playing at Seattle Sounders and, more recently, our last visit there two years ago.

"The facilities will be first class and the opposition will provide a great test for the squad."

PA

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