The Tony Gale Column

Thursday 16 February 2017 15:00

We were always expected to take six points from our matches with Wigan and Nottingham Forest at home, and although they were trickier than we would have liked, we got the job done. Slaviša Jokanović came out after each of them and admitted we need to be better defensively, and he’s spot on. We scored some lovely goals in those matches, in fact we never seem to score a scrappy one, but we can’t be relying on needing to get three goals to win a home game.

I was pretty busy doing the in-vision for Sky Sports at the Cottage on Tuesday night, but I always thought it would be a high scoring game because we’re two attacking sides. It was amazing the way the game went; Forest started off really well in both halves, scoring in the opening two minutes of each, but I was pleased with the way we played on the whole. Despite not having an out and out striker on the pitch we still created chances, which was good. Credit to the manager as well for his tactical change, as we looked a lot better once we switched to a back-three.

We’ve now got a mouth-watering FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur to look forward to at the weekend, and I’m going as a fan so I’m really looking forward to that. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to progress because the Spurs manager will definitely rest players, especially seeing as they’ve got a Europa League match in Gent on Thursday night. So that, coupled with their fight for a Champions League spot in the Premier League, means he’ll mix his team up.

So how do we beat Spurs? We outplay them. It’s so important to hit them early, and really press them. They’ll want to play it out from the back, but we could exploit them there if Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen aren’t playing. We can definitely win it, but to manage that we’ll have to play our best football of the season, and cut out the errors as well. We didn’t start quickly against Forest, but we have to against Spurs. That’s the time to catch them, when they’re not really organised, because I think they’ll improve as the game goes on.

I think it will be a really good game because with the players we’ve got, we’re not going to be playing any other way than how we have been. And we all know that Tottenham have got some outstanding footballers, regardless of who’s named in the starting XI. There’s no better atmosphere than an FA Cup game. Spurs are a noisy bunch so hopefully that will generate a better atmosphere all round as our lot will want to out-sing them. So be loud, back the boys, and hopefully come 4pm on Sunday we’ll be FA Cup Quarter-Finalists.

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