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 By Ben Pearce

Trippier happy about Spurs campaign, despite conceding vs. Man United

Tottenham Hotspur right-back Kieran Trippier feels he has improved at both ends of the pitch in 2017 -- and he remains determined to learn from his errors after taking responsibility for Manchester United's goal in the final match at White Hart Lane.

Having made just seven appearances in the first half of this season, the 26-year-old has been heavily involved since the turn of the year, playing 15 times.

In the last month of the campaign he started the biggest games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United.

That has caused some surprise and has contributed to speculation about the future of his teammate and rival Kyle Walker.

Trippier ended the season with more assists, having set up six goals for Tottenham -- one more than Walker, despite making half the number of starts in all competitions. Nonetheless, the defender acknowledges he was at fault 11 days ago when Anthony Martial sped past him and teed up Wayne Rooney for the last-ever goal at the Lane.

"It's been a good second half of the season for me," said Trippier. "I think I've improved defensively -- except for the goal the other week -- and in my attacking play, as the manager likes his full-backs getting high and wide and creating as much as we can. That's what I love doing.

"When that goal went in [against United], as soon as Martial took the ball past me I knew I'd made a stupid, stupid error. You know straight away.

"That goal was my fault and I take that on my shoulders, but it happens. It was just sloppy defending from me then. I like to think I did OK in that game but I could have prevented that goal.

"I'm able to move on from mistakes very quickly but as soon as the action happened I knew instantly that I'd made a huge mistake. With his pace, he was through on goal and I take that responsibility.

"I said to the lads after the United game 'that was my fault.' They're top lads and said 'no, after that happened, we could have stopped the goal going in.' But I take that on my shoulders, it's no problem, and it went before the next game."

Indeed, while Trippier missed the following 6-1 win at Leicester with concussion, he finished his season on a high at Hull on Sunday, setting up two goals in Tottenham's 7-1 rout.

Kieran Trippier's incisive back post run was the breakthrough Tottenham were looking for against Watford.
Kieran Trippier took on a bigger role for Tottenham in the second half of the season, making 15 appearances in all comps.

It meant Spurs ended their campaign in rather different circumstances to last year, when they struggled to come to terms with the end of their title dream and suffered a 2-1 home defeat against Southampton before an embarrassing 5-1 loss at already relegated Newcastle.

This time the 1-0 defeat at West Ham, which effectively ended their pursuit of champions Chelsea at the start of May, was swiftly followed by a 2-1 victory over United and then two emphatic victories on the road, with the north Londoners scoring 13 times in the space of three days.

"We finished very strongly," said Trippier. "We were talking in the dressing room about last season, when we got beaten by Newcastle. We went into the Leicester and Hull games wanting the six points, and we did that in good fashion.

"The West Ham game was difficult to take when we were beaten there, but it happens.

"When we lost that game it was difficult because Chelsea were a few points ahead of us and the games were running out. After that we just needed to get maximum points and win every game, just for ourselves.

"The big man [Harry Kane] got the Golden Boot again and defensively we've done very well throughout the season. It's been a fantastic season."

The only disappointment on the last day was that Hugo Lloris was unable to earn a share of the Golden Glove -- the award given to the goalkeeper who keeps the most clean sheets in the Premier League.

A shut-out against Hull would have left the Frenchman level with Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois on 16 in the final standings, and Spurs were rarely troubled at the back until Sam Clucas scored for Hull in the 66th minute.

"We're devastated about the way we gave the goal away," said Trippier. "It's not like us to give away a goal like that. We could have prevented it but it just happened.

"We're devastated for Hugo because we really wanted him to get that. We were saying at half-time 'let's try to keep a clean sheet, let's go out there [as if it's] 0-0 and keep a clean sheet for Hugo.' I'm just gutted he didn't get it.

"With the commitment and spirit of the boys, we won 7-1 but we wanted to keep the clean sheet for Hugo and defend strongly, which we did in the first half -- but it was one of those goals we gave away."

Ben is ESPN FC's Tottenham blogger. Follow on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.


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