Tottenham winger Dejan Kulusevski has issued a rallying cry to his teammates ahead of the clash against Aston Villa on New Year festive day.
Spurs fell behind 2-0 to Brentford on Boxing Day, thanks to goals from Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney. Before Harry Kane’s fine header cut the deficit in half, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg equalised.
Tottenham could not score a winner and had to settle for a point after conceding the first goal in nine consecutive games.
The Swede was not impressed by his team’s costly habit of starting slowly and conceding first. He told the club’s official website (via Mirror):
‘We have to improve,’ said Swedish winger Kulusevski. ‘It’s not OK to start games like this. If we want to be a big team, then we have to start playing from the first minute. It’s not enough with words. We have to do it on the pitch.
‘If I knew how to change it, I would tell everybody but I don’t know. We have to figure it out as a team, everybody together.
“We didn’t expect this and we worked so hard to not play like this and when you work hard you want to see the results, and we didn’t do that but there’s another game soon and we’ll be prepared.
‘The first game is always the difficult one after such a break.’ said Kulusevski. ‘We didn’t feel ready. We lost every second ball and didn’t do anything with the ball so we’re very, very disappointed by the game. It’s not OK.
‘As soon as you get the first goal, you feel like you’re going to win and we went very close. I thought we were going to win. I was just watching the clock all the time. I knew we had a lot of time to score but after two we did not. But the big problem is not the second half, it’s the first half.’
Tottenham’s next game is at home against resurgent Aston Villa under Unai Emery on New Year’s Day.
Spurs will be hoping to improve their first half performances and end the streak of conceding the first goal.