Oliver won’t let Spurs Skipp a beat as Tottenham target fast start at Anfield
Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp has warned his team-mates they cannot afford to start poorly away to Liverpool.
Spurs bounced back from their humiliating 6-1 thrashing at Newcastle last weekend by earning a 2-2 draw with Manchester United on Thursday.
Cristian Stellini lost his job after Tottenham conceded five times in the opening 21 minutes at St James’ Park and his replacement Ryan Mason watched Jadon Sancho break the deadlock in the seventh minute in midweek.
While Spurs were able to hit back from 2-0 down to salvage a point at home to the Red Devils, it further dented their slim top-four hopes, but Skipp insists they can win at Anfield on Sunday.
“Every game you have to start strongly in the Premier League, so this one will be no different,” the Tottenham academy graduate admitted.
“I hope we can use that second half to build on but we know it is a new game, with new challenges so we have to be on it from the first minute. We know what Anfield is like.
“For sure (we can win) because of that second half and performances throughout the season. We’ve beat Man City, beat Chelsea, there are performances that show we are definitely capable.
“It is just about finding that team spirit, the togetherness that we showed in the second half especially and to go to difficult places and know moments will be difficult but to push and dig in.”
Despite being only 22, Skipp is highly respected in the Spurs dressing room and repeatedly referenced the importance of being unified following the draw with Manchester United.
Mason had preached similar before and after the midweek fixture after the 6-1 thrashing at Newcastle was the latest low of a poor campaign for Tottenham.
Skipp added: “Second half I think everyone upped their levels five to 10 per cent and that shows when we are together, a collective and everyone ups their game, what we can do.
“Now we really need to build on that. We are not getting carried away because we’ve had second halves like that before, but we really need to use that as a positive.
“Everyone was disappointed: the whole club, staff, players. We were all really disappointed and we massively let everyone down with our performance at Newcastle.
“We knew we had no choice but to react and to show the togetherness that we know is in there. It is really about enhancing and finding that.”
Mason’s first big decision after he replaced Stellini was to revert back to Spurs’ favoured 3-4-3 formation but he stated Thursday’s second-half rally was more about sticking together.
However, Skipp revealed Tottenham’s third manager of the season made key tactical tweaks during half-time that helped change the course of the match.
“Ryan has been brilliant in just reinforcing and trying to get belief back into the players,” Skipp said of Mason.
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“He has been brilliant in terms of small details he has changed. Obviously he hasn’t had as long as he’d want (in training) but there are things that helped everyone.
“At half-time everyone was aware of what we needed to do and also a few tactical things we changed, perhaps stopping their midfield getting easy possession because at times they had easy possession.
“A few tactical changes really helped us push up the pitch and stop worrying about what was behind us.
“I think we started the second half really strongly, so that gave everyone the belief but it would have been easy after the (Newcastle) performance for people to hide but I don’t think anyone did.
“It was really about showing everyone that we have got a team that is capable of fighting.”