Thursday 23 November 2017

Bentaleb defends Spurs team-mates

Nabil Bentaleb, centre, has defended Tottenham's players following criticism from Sam Allardyce
Nabil Bentaleb, centre, has defended Tottenham's players following criticism from Sam Allardyce

Nabil Bentaleb has rubbished claims from West Ham manager Sam Allardyce that Tottenham players go to ground too easily.

Allardyce saw his side lose a two-goal lead at White Hart Lane on Sunday, with Harry Kane scoring a last-gasp equaliser in an exciting 2-2 draw after seeing an initial penalty saved.

The England Under-21 international had won the 95th-minute spot-kick himself, having been felled by Alex Song, but Allardyce, whose side had looked set for three points after goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho, was unimpressed.

''You can argue whether it's enough contact from Alex's arm or whether it's not, but when you're desperate like Tottenham are and you get touched, a player's going to fall over and ask the referee to make a decision,'' the Hammers boss told BT Sport.

''Whether it's the right decision or not, it's the way football is today. If we're to learn anything by it, we have to do the same as what Tottenham do more often, because we stay on our feet and don't get fouls and they get touched and go down and they do get fouls. In the end its make a difference."

But Bentaleb defended Tottenham's squad, insisting Allardyce may have been caught up in the heat of the moment - and also suggested Mark Noble was lucky to escape a red card after the Hammers midfielder scythed through him having already been cautioned.

"He can say whatever he wants," Bentaleb said when asked about Allardyce's remarks.

"We scored a penalty in the last minute. Maybe it's because of this, I can understand if he's a little bit angry. But it's not true. Of course it was a penalty - there's no doubt about that.

"If he wants to argue, we could also say Noble could have been sent off. But this is football. Sometimes the referee makes decisions and you just have to shut your mouth and not complain.

"The positive thing we can take out of this game is that we believed until the end and once again we scored in the last minute and managed to get that point."

West Ham defender Winston Reid, who was making a comeback from a hamstring injury, reckons the performance proves Allardyce's side are still looking to end the season strongly - despite dropping off from their early pace which had them in the European positions.

"The manager does all the stats, but if you look at the game (on Sunday) you can see we won't let the season fizzle out," the New Zealand international said when asked about end-of-season targets.

"We'll still try to push and see how high we can finish. We are in a bit of no-man's land right now but we'll push and see how high we can get."

Spurs, meanwhile, have called for tough action against fans who were shown on a video clip chanting a ''vile'' anti-Semitic song.

The video, filmed by a passenger on the London Underground, appears to show West Ham supporters chanting anti-Semitic songs before Sunday's game.

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