May 24 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Monday, February 11, 2013
Lewis Holtby says Tottenham are evolving every month and deserve a place among Europe’s elite in the Champions League.
The 22-year-old German made his first start for Spurs while also getting his first outing at the Lane in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle, as the Lilywhites temporarily overtook Chelsea and moved into third spot.
The Blues’ subsequent triumph over Wigan meant that Rafael Benitez’s side reclaimed that place, but Holtby says it is no surprise to see Spurs challenging for a top-three place – which would represent their best ever Premier League finish.
“This club is evolving every year, maybe even every month,” he said. “We’re now fighting for third and it’s not like it’s come from nowhere.
“This club has been in the top four or five for the last couple of years, so I’ve made a really big decision in my career and it’s the right decision.
“Our aim is to go to the Champions League. The club is getting bigger all the time and we deserve to be there.
“It’s a long way and a very hard route we are on but with this squad, and the whole background with the staff, I think we’re able to play in the Champions League. It’s a fantastic club to come to.
“We’ve got a great team, the quality in the side throughout the players is fantastic - even the guys who didn’t make it into the squad this time.
“The team spirit is very high, that’s why we win these tight games. It’s fantastic to be here and the reception of the fans is always perfect.”
Holtby only arrived from Schalke two weeks ago but he is settling quickly, both on the field and in his personal life in the capital.
“I had a really good feeling about this club - the manager, the whole club, seeing the fans, the players we play with - everything was perfect for me,” he said.
“There’s a city like London in the background and my family’s just around the corner - my father’s sister and mum, my cousins and my uncle. There is one in London who lives in Wimbledon and I’ve got family near Bedford in Haynes - it’s just a 47-mile drive there.
“I really enjoy their company, they always come to every game and they really support me. My mum and dad are always coming over to the games too. My mum was there [against Newcastle] and it’s always a great feeling to have this support. Without them I wouldn’t be here.
“I was watching the footy all the time [in Germany], every weekend. Thank God we had Sky Sports England so we managed to see every game and I always dreamed of it.
“I had my eyes really close to the screen the whole time and, for me, I was sure that if I had the ability to play in the Premier League and if I got an offer from a big club like Tottenham, there was no doubt that I would make that move.
“All respect to Schalke, I had a very good time there. We had a great team and a good season so far, but I’m happy to be here now.
“It’s a beautiful feeling to come to training every day and I enjoy it very much. I always go there with a smile on my face and days like this [when we win] are fantastic.”
Gareth Bale stole the show once again on Saturday, hitting both goals against the Magpies – but Holtby was keen to give Spurs’ unsung heroes their due.
“He [Bale] is a world-class player, one of the best in the world I think,” said the Spurs signing. “What he’s producing every week is fantastic, but you have to give the credit to the others – we’re a team with 11 men.
“Of course Gareth scores goals and he is perfect for us, but every player in the team works hard for the club.
“You see at the end how Hugo [Lloris] saved that chance, and the defenders put their bodies into every shot. Everyone is working really hard and that’s the key of the game, playing football with 11 or 14 men, who are strong.
“To have a player like Bale makes the difference and to play with him is a great feeling, but it’s not just him.”
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