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Elland back for happy Pat

Posted on 7 February 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Pat Holland could not hide his delight after his under-18 Academy side overcame Leeds United at Elland Road to progress to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup.

A superb first-half performance, capped by a 29th minute Jamie Slabber goal, essentially secured the tie for the boys, with Leeds showing more urgency in the second period.

Facing the prospect of a happy four-hour trek home, Pat commented: "It's a long way to come, and I think they deserved it. I thought in the first half we got round round the back of them, although the final ball was sometimes a bit disappointing.

"We created enough chances and we were quietly confident after the first half and it was just a question of weathering the storm. They came at us a bit in the second half, I think they changed it and pushed a lad up with the front two. It was a little bit of a problem to begin with because we weren't sure how they'd changed it.

"It settled down a bit and we had a couple more chances and, although I couldn't really see it, I'm told their keeper made a couple of really good saves. The we had a scare with about three minutes to go, but I think that would've been a little bit of an injustice.

"It was thoroughly deserved.

"I think they all played well, but I thought Ronnie (Henry) and Paul (O'Donoghue) were excellent at the back, with Mark Hughes propping up in front of them. He did well, breaking up a lot of the attacks, kept it simple."

The eye-catching player of the first half was left-winger Nicky Wettner, who at times left his marker standing with a dazzling combination of pace and skill.

"Young Nicky Wettner," reflected Pat. "Game as you like, very direct, little bit head down at times. He's very willing and want to get to that by-line - it's a great skill that.

"He's exciting, he needs to settle his game down a little bit, young Nicky, and that will come with experience and playing with more experienced players around him - just to settle him down a little bit. He's got that desire to get in behind people and it's a great gift - if he can maintain that, who knows?"

Slabber, of course, scored his third goal in two Youth Cup ties in tandem with John Sutton and, according to Pat, he possesses that natural ability that no amount of coaching can bring.

"He and John worked hard up front, Jamie's just got that little skill, I don't think you can coach it, he just gets into good little areas."

It's Blackburn next, and Pat won't have to travel far to collect a video.

"I'll phone the Arsenal up on Monday and see if they'll send us a tape!" laughed the coach. "That will be interesting... I'm sure they will, I know a couple of the lads there, so if we can get a tape of Blackburn that'll be good. Peter Suddaby went and watched them so we've a rough idea. I think they are a strong side and it'll be a very competitive game.

"It'll be nice to go to White Hart Lane so we don't get home a three o'clock in the morning."