Friedel tells Spurs to keep the faith

Veteran goalkeeper says run of one point from 12 is just bad luck and team should not change style

If worry is setting in at Tottenham Hotspur, Brad Friedel will not admit it. Spurs are slipping from what was once a title challenge into another tense battle to qualify for the Champions League.

At one moment less than a month ago, Spurs had a 2-0 lead at the Emirates, and were set to go 13 points ahead of Arsenal. Tottenham still do not seem to have recovered from what happened next; they lost 5-2, and took just one point from their next three League games.

Suddenly Arsenal are north London's leading side again, one point ahead of Tottenham. Chelsea, where Spurs play tomorrow lunchtime, are reviving under Roberto Di Matteo. Momentum has deserted Tottenham at precisely the point where they need it most.

Friedel, though, said that the picture was rather better than it looked. "It's definitely not doom and gloom.

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

The recent bad results, Friedel said, owed more to poor fortune than poor performance. After being ransacked by Arsenal, Spurs lost two similar matches. First they were taught a lesson in ruthlessness by Manchester United, losing 3-1 at White Hart Lane despite having most of the ball. Six days later, they laid siege at Everton, but were repelled and came away with a 1-0 defeat. Precisely the same thing nearly happened on Wednesday night at home against Stoke. Only Rafael van der Vaart's stoppage-time header rescued a point, after another evening where once again the conversion of territory into goals proved infuriatingly difficult for Spurs.

 

But for the goalkeeper, the performances are not the problem. "If you look at the last four results we've only had really one of those that wasn't a Tottenham performance and that was Arsenal away," Friedel insisted. Man United here I thought football-wise, we've seen the videos and we played really well.

"First half at Everton, I don't believe we were terrible, second half we were really strong again. Even [against Stoke], I don't know what the possession was, I thought we were well on top and their goalkeeper made a couple of good saves. And Stoke, when they get all their players behind the ball, are a difficult team to break down."

Some might accuse Spurs of struggling under the pressures of a three-way race for third place. Not Friedel, though, who was confident that the players just need to relax in order to bring back their impressive early- season form.

"Actually, I don't think it's about holding your nerve," Friedel said. "It's about going out and enjoying yourself and expressing yourself, because those are the types of players we have.

"We'll continue, by and large, to do what we've been doing all season long and again these last few games. Sometimes you can play very poorly and win a game and no one says anything. Those things can happen in football and we've been playing, by and large, good football without getting results."

And, for all the attention on tomorrow lunchtime's game, the events surrounding Fabrice Muamba at White Hart Lane last Saturday show that some things matters more. "That's not pressure," Friedel said of the race to qualify for the Champions League. "Football's not pressure. It might be for some but football's not pressure. Football's fun, it's a game. We want to go out and we want to win. But I think we all saw last week what pressure was."

Third place: The race

Next six games:

* Arsenal

Tomorrow Aston Villa (h), 31 Mar QPR (a), 8 Apr Man City (h), 11 Apr Wolves (a), 16 Apr Wigan (h), 21 Apr Chelsea (h).

* Tottenham

Tomorrow Chelsea (a), 1 Apr Swansea (h), 7 Apr Sun'land (a), 9 Apr Norwich (h), 21 Apr QPR (a), 29 Apr Blackburn (h).

* Chelsea

Tomorrow Spurs (h); 31 Mar A Villa (a); 7 Apr Wigan (h); 9 Apr Fulham (a); 21 Apr Arsenal (a); 29 Apr QPR(h).

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Life & Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers