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Tuesday 28 February 2012

Van der Vaart: Spurs will bounce back

Tottenham midfielder backs team to put derby defeat against Arsenal behind them

Van der Vaart came on as a second-half substitute against Arsenal

Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has backed Spurs to bounce back after their heavy defeat at the hands of North London rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

Harry Redknapp's side endured a rare bad day in their excellent season as the Gunners fought back superbly from 2-0 down to romp to a 5-2 victory.

Van der Vaart, who played as a second-half substitute in the match, said he could not explain what had gone wrong for Tottenham, but insisted Spurs would not lose the momentum they had built up this season.

"We have the mental strength to put this behind us"
- Rafael van der Vaart

"It's not difficult to lift ourselves, it's football," he said.

"Sunday was a bad day but we're still seven points ahead of Arsenal in third place so we're not worried.

"It was a strange game. The first 20 minutes was really good but, at 2-0 up, they came back with a good goal and we were a little bit nervous.

"We knew that Arsenal have a great squad and at the end of the day they deserved to win. The first Arsenal goal from Bacary Sagna changed everything.

"Tottenham had total control of the game and then out of nothing they scored - and then the game changed.

"But we have the mental strength to put this behind us. It is just one game and we lost. But for the fans and for us, with it being Arsenal it always hurts."

Spurs have another fascinating match on Sunday as they host Manchester United and Van der Vaart said: "The confidence is there and we also showed in the first half [against Arsenal] that we are still a top team.

"It's going to be difficult because United are a strong team and always difficult to beat but we always play well at home."

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Key Points

  • Tottenham beaten 5-2 by Arsenal on Sunday
  • Midfielder Van der Vaart says Spurs can lift themselves despite heavy defeat
  • Harry Redknapp's side host Manchester United in vital match on Sunday