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Assou-Ekotto: Naughton not a real left back

Benoit Assou-Ekotto says his rival for a starting berth at Tottenham Hotspur, Kyle Naughton, is “not a real left-back”.

Assou-Ekotto is fit again after four months out with a knee injury, but Spurs bmanager Andre Villas-Boas has continued to prefer versatile defender Jan Vertonghen or right-back Naughton in the left-back role.

However, Assou-Ekotto, who came off the bench against Manchester United on Sunday and delivered the cross that led to Clint Dempsey’s last-minute equaliser, is confident that he will regain his place sooner rather than later.

“I am not worried about that because obviously I can do stuff with my left foot that he (Naughton) can’t do,” Assou-Ekotto told reporters.

“He is not a real left-back and I do not think he has the same left foot as me, so I am not worried about that.”

“To come back in the Premier League is quite hard because it is high tempo but sometimes it is easier to play against Manchester United than against a team in the bottom half. I think it was a good game to come back in.”

The draw against United gave fourth-placed Spurs a boost in the battle for Champions League qualification, with sixth-placed Arsenal losing at Chelsea on the same day and fifth-placed Everton held at Southampton on Monday.

Tottenham are three points ahead of Everton and seven clear of Arsenal, but Assou-Ekotto claimed to be unconcerned with the form of Spurs’ north London rivals.

“I do not care (about Arsenal’s results) and I do not think we should care about the other teams. We have to be focused only on ourselves and to have a target not to lose any games,” he said.

“Even if Sunday (against Manchester United) was one point, maybe at the end of the season this point will be very important.

“We can be happy, with a positive attitude and say, ‘Okay, we got a 1-1 draw against Manchester United’ but at the same time we can be sad because we missed five good occasions (to score) against them.

“We did what they normally do to teams – we scored in the last minute. If we see the game this way we can say, ‘Yeah, it is a good point for us’.”

Tue 22 Jan, 2013
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