Assou-Ekotto unconcerned by Naughton
Published 22/01/2013 | 13:20
Benoit Assou-Ekotto does not believe Kyle Naughton is a threat to his place in the Tottenham team because he thinks the English defender is "not a real left-back".
Assou-Ekotto returned to training just over a month ago, but has only made one start - in Tottenham's FA Cup third round win over Coventry. Naughton, who normally operates at right-back, has impressed at left-back during Assou-Ekotto's absence. The 28-year-old thinks he is better suited to the position than Naughton, however.
"He's not a real left-back and I don't think he has the same left foot as me, so I'm not worried about that," Assou-Ekotto said. "I'm not worried because obviously I can do stuff with my left foot that he can't do."
Assou-Ekotto was absent for over four months after suffering a knee injury following Tottenham's draw against Norwich.
The former Lens player performed well against Coventry and looked much more solid than Naughton against United when he came off the bench with half an hour remaining. The Cameroon defender also looked good going forward, swinging in the cross that eventually led to Clint Dempsey's dramatic 93rd-minute equaliser.
"To come back in the Premier League is quite hard because it's high-tempo, but sometimes it's easier to play against Manchester United than against a team in the bottom half," Assou-Ekotto said. "I think it was a good game to come back in. My cross was OK."
Assou-Ekotto has returned to a totally different team to the one he was playing in last September.
Back then question marks surrounded the capabilities of Andre Villas-Boas, who had replaced Harry Redknapp as manager in the summer, following a winless three-match run at the start of the season. Spurs now sit fourth in the table, seven points ahead of their local rivals Arsenal, after a seven-game unbeaten run.
Arsenal managed to overturn a 10-point deficit last term, but Assou-Ekotto insists the only way Spurs will get Champions League football next season is if they focus on themselves.
"I don't care, and I think we shouldn't care about the other teams," he said. "We have to be focused only on ourselves, and have a target not to lose any games. The point against United might be important at the end of the season."