"We're the underdogs" says Jepson
Spurs boss Vicky Jepson insists the pressure is off for Saturday's North London Derby
24 March 2023
Tottenham Hotspur interim head coach Vicky Jepson spoke to the media on Friday afternoon ahead of the North London derby against Arsenal.
Jepson was asked about what conversations she has had with the club since the Leicester match last week. She responded by saying “the focus is taking the next game” and her job is to “try to accumulate as many points as we can whilst I am leading the team”. Jepson said that from what she knows she is interim head coach on a “match-by-match basis”. After the departure of Rehanne Skinner as head coach last week, Jepson also agreed that this week has been a bit more back to normal.
Jepson noted the 1-0 win against Leicester in Tottenham’s last match (their first win in nine WSL games) “realises a lot of pressure” and she “was so pleased with the way they handled the pressure considering we only had 45 minutes on the grass leading into Leicester”. She continued by saying the three points were massive for the club, players and staff, and that is something to build on.
Asked about how tough the Arsenal match will be, Jepson acknowledged “they are a top European team so we know it is going to be tough”. Speaking about derbies, the Spurs interim head coach carried on by saying “it is an occasion and form can go out of the window, and it is on our home turf, we don’t fear them, but we are going to have to be really on it to nullify their strengths that they have and be diligent in the way we apply ourselves in possession to cause them problems going forwards.”
Shelina Zadorsky will miss the match as she has been suffering with an illness but is progressing on the grass, Jepson confirmed. Apart from that they are looking good and have squad depth on the bench.
With Tottenham not having played for 10 days whilst Arsenal played Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, Jepson was asked if this longer break for her side might be an advantage going into the game. She responded by saying “Arsenal have fantastic squad depth so if they want to rotate their squad they could”. Jepson said Spurs have had longer to regroup, input principals on the grass and go back to basics and build on things from the Leicester game. She thinks it is a “blank canvas for both teams” going into the game and the derby is a special occasion.
With it being Women’s Football Weekend, Jepson believes both teams will want to put on a display for the fans and younger generation of female footballers across the country, and the derby will be a great occasion.
Jepson noted there “is zero pressure on us, no one is expecting Tottenham to win so we are the underdogs and when you are the underdogs it gives you that extra bit of motivation to try and surprise people” when asked if Arsenal are favourites to win the match. She also mentioned that Arsenal don’t want to drop points with where they are in the league and the rivalry between the sides, and there is a significant amount of pressure on them.
Kerys Harrop will equal Gilly Flaherty’s WSL record appearances of 177 if she plays against Arsenal. Jepson praised Harrop saying she brings leadership, and is very vocal, and very caring. She helps the younger players, shows good standards, looks after herself properly, has experienced highs and lows and have different skill sets to help lead people through whatever is put in front of them.