'We are more determined and patient,' says Kaboul


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The Independent Football

Younes Kaboul believes Tottenham are showing grit and determination not previously seen at White Hart Lane.

The French defender played an important part in Tuesday's 1-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion, where Jermain Defoe helped close the gap on second-place Manchester United to three points before last night. The victory was Spurs' sixth in seven Premier League matches at White Hart Lane, where goals have been hard to come of late.

The north Londoners have only managed to score four times in their last three games, which Kaboul believes heightens the need for defensive solidity. "Last year we lost or drew these kind of games, which is why we finished fifth at the end of the season rather than fourth or third, so this season we don't want to make the same mistakes," Kaboul said.

"I suppose we are a massive team in England now. We're playing against high-quality teams who can play football, but when they come here they just drop back, they just defend. We have to be patient and pass the ball properly and find solutions. I know it's very hard but that's the situation and the most important thing is to win.

"In these games you have to be patient and you have to score – that's it – and you cannot concede a goal, which is what happened to Manchester City at Sunderland. When you attack you have to defend well too, and that's what we did against West Brom.

"It's a good result for us, we just have to keep this run going," Kaboul added. "It wasn't the best game ever but you have to win those matches, take three points and look forward to the next one. That's the only way we will achieve something at the end of the season."

To do that Tottenham will be hoping injuries to William Gallas and Sandro are not as bad as first thought. The pair went off on Tuesday with suspected calf tears and the club are awaiting news on the severity of the damage.

Tuesday's opponents have injury problems of their own, which were compounded when Jerome Thomas limped off in north London. Albion put up a valiant fight against Spurs and came close to grabbing an equaliser on several occasions during the closing stages, leaving midfielder George Thorne pleased by the performance, if not the result. "The players definitely feel hard done by," he said. "We did the same at Manchester City. When you're pushing title contenders right to the limit and they are winning by one goal, not creating many clear-cut chances, you're definitely going to feel a little bit hard done by. We definitely felt we could have got a point. We had a few chances at the end but, as I said, to do that against title contenders and a team as good as Tottenham you can only take positives from it."

Thorne put in an assured performance at White Hart Lane on what was his full Premier League debut. The 19-year-old did not look out of place against Spurs and earned praise from manager Roy Hodgson after the game.

"It is always nice to hear positive comments from your manager," Thorne said when told of the comments. "It is a case that all us youngsters have to be on our toes with the injuries at the moment. I'll be ready again if he needs me. I have been playing with these players day in, day out for a long time now so I know the level I need to be at.

"It was my first start so there was obviously a bit of nerves and anxiousness, naturally. After a couple of touches I felt that I was getting into my stride and into the game."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez felt Tuesday's defeat by Sunderland was a step too far for his weary side. The Latics had looked the most likely of the bottom three to climb out of the relegation zone after a promising run of results that included draws with Liverpool and Chelsea but they failed to capitalise on early dominance and slumped to a 4-1 loss.

Martinez said: "If I could have made 10 changes I would have made 10 changes. We played against Stoke with 10 men for 20 minutes and the games we had previously here took a lot out of the players. It was a game too many.

"It's been a very tough period in terms of fixtures in December and over the festive period and I just feel we need a break. We need to concentrate on the FA Cup and make sure we are strong and ready for the QPR game."