Sebastien Bassong issues challenge to Tottenham
Sebastien Bassong has challenged his Tottenham team-mates to prove they are good enough to earn a place in next year's Champions League by extending their unbeaten run well into the new year.
Bassong came off the bench to help Spurs register a 2-0 victory over former club Newcastle at White Hart Lane yesterday.
The win launched Tottenham into the final Champions League qualifying place and extended the north Londoners' unbeaten run to 10 matches in all competitions.
Despite their recent poor form, fifth-place Chelsea will be confident of reclaiming fourth spot with victory over Bolton at Stamford Bridge tonight.
And with the competition between rivals Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal intensifying, Bassong has warned that Tottenham must keep picking up wins in order to stay in the mix, starting with Saturday's match at home to Fulham.
"Starting 2011 with a win is really important for us and we need to keep going like that," Bassong said.
"We've had good results in matches against Chelsea, Villa and Newcastle and if we want to be in the top four at the end of the season we have all said we must carry on winning.
"The next game will be really important. We have to win our home games. Fulham will come here for a difficult London derby."
Bassong says the run, which stretches back nearly two months and includes victories over Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa, has brought a confidence to the squad that was evident in yesterday's win over the Magpies, who were shot down by goals from Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale.
"The confidence is the same as last season," said Bassong, who joined Spurs from Newcastle last summer.
"We still believe in ourselves because we have a really good squad and we have lots of character and have quality. We have to carry on keep working hard and then we will make the top four."
Spurs ended their second successive game with 10 men after Younes Kaboul was sent off for a clashing with Cheik Tiote just two days after Jermain Defoe saw red for crashing his elbow into the face of Aston Villa's James Collins.
Bassong, who is likely to replace Kaboul at centre back for Saturday's match against the Cottagers, believes that the determination shown in Spurs' last two victories demonstrate the psychological strength of Harry Redknapp's squad.
"It was a tough victory," said the 24-year-old.
"This one was really important because it came just two days after the last one and we were down to 10. We showed lots of character and we were strong. We deserved to win."
Bassong was also happy to see the team record their first clean sheet in the league since the opening day of the season.
He continued: "It's really important for us defenders, not conceding a goal at home. We are now full of confidence.
"We are an attacking team. We attack a lot and sometimes it's hard as a defender because all the players want to attack but it's a really good thing we got a clean sheet."
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Emirates was the easy option for Mesut Ozil. He needs a leader - and Arsenal don't have them
Ronaldinho dream XI: John Terry, Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele are in as former Barcelona superstar names ideal side
UFC champion Ronda Rousey leaves presenter with broken ribs after he claims 'she can't compete with a man'
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his dance moves, including the moonwalk
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
- 4 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 5 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'