By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Monday, January 14, 2013
Scott Parker admits Tottenham’s players are acutely aware of the collapses that have undermined their last two seasons and are anxious not to capitulate again this year.
Harry Redknapp’s Spurs sat fourth in February 2011 but then collected just nine points from 10 Premier League games and ultimately finished fifth.
It was a similar story last year as the Lilywhites took six points from nine games between February and April, throwing away third place and missing out on Champions League qualification.
Tottenham have started 2013 in the top four again and recently enjoyed a four-match winning run – but that sequence was ended by a disappointing goalless draw at basement boys QPR on Saturday.
It was the first time Spurs had failed to score away from home in the league since their previous outing at Loftus Road – a costly 1-0 defeat in April 2012.
The toothless and uninspiring performance has sparked concerns that the Lilywhites are starting to run out of steam for the third successive season, and Parker concedes he and his team-mates are keen to avoid a repeat of their recent history.
“That’s obviously in everyone’s minds because it’s happened before,” he said. “As a team and as a squad we just need to try to maintain our performances.
“We’ve got some tough fixtures coming up, but we’ve got some players coming back from injury and hopefully at times we can freshen it up that way. I’m sure we’ll be fine.
“I don’t know if we’ve got a better squad this year, or whether it’s quite similar to last year. We’ve obviously lost some world-class players but we’ve added some world-class players.
“Hopefully we will learn from what happened a couple of years ago, and what happened last year, and stay strong.”
Having initially been named on the bench against QPR, Parker entered the fray in the 25th minute to replace the injured Sandro.
After a five-month absence through injury, six substitute appearances and a solitary start against Coventry in the FA Cup, the 32-year-old is now determined to force his way into Andre Villas-Boas’ favoured line-up.
“It’s always difficult coming on like that,” he said. “Before I knew it I was warming up, I’d done one jog and then I was back on the pitch.
“It’s difficult but I’m over the moon with how things went on a personal level, and just being back out there is pleasing. I just need to keep going now and hopefully get back in the team.
“Obviously the lads are doing very well and the boys in midfield are doing well too, so I just need to stay in the manager’s thoughts. I need to be on my game every day in training, and also when I get my chance - like on Saturday.
“We wanted three points. I thought they [QPR] set up very well, they did their job and they really stifled us at times - they got a lot of men behind the ball and it proved difficult.
“We had a couple of good chances which we should have converted and then it might have been a different game. Maybe they might have had to come at us and then you never know. Obviously we’re a little bit disappointed with a draw.”
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