Younes Kaboul admits to fitness concerns ahead of Spurs reunion

Younes Kaboul in action for Sunderland against Aston Villa. Picture by FRANK REID
Younes Kaboul in action for Sunderland against Aston Villa. Picture by FRANK REID
11
Have your say

Younes Kaboul is looking forward to getting revenge on his old club Spurs – after they forced him to train alone during the summer.

Kaboul joined Sunderland last month in a £3million deal after becoming surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane.

I missed most of pre-season and I had a hard time at the end at Tottenham, because they didn’t let me train with the team

Younes Kaboul

Sunderland host his old club a week on Sunday, with Kaboul hoping to keep his place in the centre of the Black Cats’ defence for the fixture and get one over Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who froze him out in the last few months of his time in north London.

Kaboul admits he has struggled for fitness and form in the first few games in a Sunderland strip, but feels he is slowly starting to adapt to life on Wearside.

And after his recall to the team for the 2-2 draw against Aston Villa last weekend, he will now use the international break to get further up to speed.

“I missed most of pre-season and I had a hard time at the end at Tottenham, because they didn’t let me train with the team,” said Kaboul, who spent the last five years at Spurs.

“I had to plan my own schedule to get fit, which was not easy for me.

“I try to give my best all the time. I felt better at Aston Villa, but I still to work more physically.

“I’m using these two weeks to build up to the Tottenham game.”

Kaboul refuses to use his lack of fitness as a reason for his disappointing start on Wearside, however.

“You always need time to settle into a new team, a different system and adapt yourself,” he added.

“That’s not an excuse, because as a professional player, you have to adapt yourself very quickly.

“But step-by-step, it’s coming.”

Kaboul is one of seven summer signings brought to the Stadium of Light, the last being the loan capture of another Tottenham player, DeAndre Yedlin, on transfer deadline day.

While Yedlin will be unavailable to face his parent club, the rest of the new boys are continuing to work hard to gel as a unit.

Kaboul admits that will take time, but is buoyed by the character he saw his team-mates show in coming from behind against Villa.

We still need to know more about each other on the pitch,” the 29-year-old said. “We’ve got another week or so to prepare for the next game now.

“The manager is doing his best to help us win some matches.

“We’re working hard in training and we’re the ones who are responsible when we go out on the pitch.

“The thing I took from the Villa game was the spirit in the team.

“We showed great character after being 2-1 down at half-time and come back to 2-2.

“I’m very pleased with the way we came back in the game.

“The truth is on the pitch. people can say what they want.

“But at the end of the day, we are the ones on the pitch who can determine this situation.”

And while he admits he’s excited about taking on his old club, Kaboul says he’s just focused on getting Sunderland’s season up and running and help them move off the bottom rung of the Premier League.

“Of course it’s my former club, but the most important thing is we work hard for that game in training to fix some things that we need to,” he added.