Our skipper and outstanding goalkeeper used the match-winning display of Kieran Trippier against Watford and the collective performance of our four full-backs this season to highlight his point.
Kieran and Ben Davies provided a constant threat down each flank, playing as auxiliary wingers as we dominated from start to finish against the Hornets.
And ‘Trips’ secured the victory in one of our most complete performances of the campaign (26-3 shots, 15-1 corner count) with the only goal of the game in the 64th minute at the Lane.
Kieran has now featured in 14 of our 35 matches in all competitions, Ben in 19, Kyle Walker 22 and Danny Rose 17.
Hugo spoke to us after keeping another clean sheet…
How important is it that a full-back can produce a match-winning moment in a game like that?
Hugo: “I think we’re lucky to have four great full-backs. There is good competition between them because there is a lot of respect between them. After the gaffer picks a player it doesn’t matter who is on the pitch, everyone is aware that we need to push the team as far as possible because we don’t want to miss a great opportunity. Everyone is aware of that and that’s why the spirit is so great in the team.”
How far can that respect within the players and the squad take the team?
Hugo: “I’ve always spoken about having the ‘basics’ in the team and we have the basics. We have the talent, we have the working mentality and we have improved a lot tactically and technically. Individually as well, a lot of players are improving and because we are young, some players don’t know their limit. That’s very good. The competition inside the club helps push everyone even more. For me, I’m 29, I have more than 10 years behind me in professional football and I’m enjoying this moment at Tottenham because it’s very difficult at the highest level of football to keep the right balance in the team and at the moment, we’re doing that.”
Is there a feeling that something special is happening here?
Hugo: “We cannot forget that things can turn around quickly in football. That’s why we always have to be vigilant about what’s happening every day. That’s the role of the gaffer, the staff, the experienced players - to put the team in the best condition every day for every game. We’re having a great season because we are still in the cups, still in the league, there are a lot of things to try to reach and that’s exciting.”
Finally, going back to the Watford game, after 80 minutes, Watford had registered one shot – tell us about that defensive display…
Hugo: “To explain our defensive performance it’s not only about the four defenders at the back but also about the team block. As soon as we lose possession we have the spirit to recover the ball and that’s why we put a lot of pressure on the opponent. Everyone is ready to switch on and work for the team from the beginning until the end. It was a great team performance against Watford and maybe we deserved more in terms of goals scored but we’re happy with three points.”