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).

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering