THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2011
White Hart Lane, 10.45pm
The clear message before Thursday night's second leg against Hearts was that we had to be professional. We had to forget what happened in the first leg and that we were 5-0 up, go out there and try to win the match.
Unfortunately, we didn't manage to do that, but there were a lot of positives to come out of it.
From my point of view, it's always great to keep a clean sheet, especially after conceding three goals at Old Trafford on Monday night.
Then, of course, the real bonus was seeing the young lads who got out there and made their debuts for the club. Tom Carroll was fantastic, Ryan Fredericks on the right, Harry Kane and then Jake Nicholson on as substitute in the second half.
It was a shame that Harry missed the penalty, but I've seen him in training day-in, day-out and I was confident he'd score, I've seen him score goal after goal. He'll be lying in bed thinking about that, but his overall game was fantastic.
Credit to all four of those lads, plus Jake Livermore and Andros Townsend. They've all worked hard to get this far and it's a special moment when you make your debut. I remember all of mine well, from Forest to Spurs, England Under-21s and the senior team. Every one is special.
I spoke to them before the game, just wishing them good luck. That's all you can do beforehand. When you get out on the pitch, you do everything to help them. We've all been there, you know they are nervous, excited, all rolled into one.
What would have made them feel even better is the reception from the crowd. The fans turned out in their thousands again, fantastic. That's after being 5-0 up from the first leg. I'm sure they would have enjoyed seeing those lads.
We're now in the group stages of the competition and the manager made it clear that we want to progress further with the team he put out in the first leg at Hearts. It was a fantastic performance and set-up the tie.
There are some great teams in it and it's a competition we want to do well in.
City are next on Sunday and it's now one of the biggest games of the season.
We were so disappointed with how it ended up at United, especially after playing so well for an hour and not just losing, but conceding three goals. We wanted to get back to clean sheets defensively against Hearts and we did that and hopefully we can do it again against City.
They've got off to a great start in the league and will be full of confidence.
But this is our first match at home in the Premier League, we're right up for it and we know the fans will be right behind us.
I'm pretty sure City will be fighting for the title this season. But as I said, this is about us. We'll concentrate on what we do and we want to get three points on the board.
I'm sure it will be a cracking game and hope we can get the win for you.
Until next time!