Nikita Whinnett’s thrilled with Spurs Ladies’ ‘phenomenal’ first half of the season

Nikita Whinnett (top) scored twice in the first seven minutes of Sunday's cup tie against Crystal Pa

Nikita Whinnett (top) scored twice in the first seven minutes of Sunday's cup tie against Crystal Palace. Picture: - Credit: Archant

Nikita Whinnett says Spurs Ladies have enjoyed a “phenomenal” first half of the season after securing their 12th successive victory and reaching their third semi-final of the campaign.

Whinnett scored after just 14 seconds and then again in the seventh minute, while Wendy Martin and Bianca Baptiste were also on target, as Tottenham beat Crystal Palace 4-1 and progressed into the final four of the National FA Women’s Premier League Cup.

The Lilywhites have won 17 of their 18 games in all competitions this term, drawing the other, and Whinnett said: “We’ve had a phenomenal start, we couldn’t ask for a better opening few months.

“To still be in these cups, these semi-finals, is where we want to be. We want to be playing against the best teams and we want to be playing at the highest standards that we can, and that’s exactly what we’re doing – it’s all working for us.

“It was very important to start as we did. Palace are a team that are battling for everything at the moment. They’re up there with us so if you slip up against these types of teams you’re not going to win. You have to start as you mean to go on, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Whinnett’s opener in the early seconds came from Spurs’ energetic pressing from the kick-off. She said: “It’s all a result of the preparation we go through in training, and that’s literally down to the coaches pushing us to defend from the top and work our way through the team. We just defend for each other, and full credit to the coaches – the work they put in for us is just phenomenal.

“[The goal] wasn’t expected, Wendy scuffed it to the side and I just got lucky really – I was in the right place at the right time. Thankfully it was at the beginning of the game and so it set the standards.

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“Most teams have a squad of 20, but they have their starting 11. We have a squad of 24 or 25, if not more, and every single player can replace that person who’s just gone off with just as much talent.

“It’s incredible to be able to field two teams of 11 at the same standard. We’ve just got it all going on at the moment and it’s all coming together.”

Karen Hills’ Tottenham side will now focus on their bid to remain top of the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division as they host seventh-placed Portsmouth in their final game of 2016.

“We’ve been taking it game by game so obviously it will be hard work in training this week,” said Whinnett.

“We’ll look to see how they play, but the main focus will be on what we do and what we’ve done all season, which is concentrate on our game and take that into Sunday.”