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Ferdy: 'I understand fans'

Posted on 24 November 2000  - 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).

Les Ferdinand has told Sky Sports Centre that he and his Spurs team-mates wish they were playing more attractive football just as much as the club’s supporters, saying: “The players wish we played more of the sort of football that the fans here like to see."

The 33-year-old striker has been a Tottenham fan for long enough to understand how the fans feel about the importance of style and flair.

Ferdinand said: “I’ve seen some pretty good teams here over the years, playing the sort of football that Spurs fans have grown up on and I can understand their frustrations.”

Ferdinand's empathy runs deep: “It's hard for me to be in a side that doesn’t play that sort of football," he said.

It may surprise some fans to know that manager George Graham feels the same way as him.

Speaking about the much-maligned Scot, Ferdinand said: ”The manager would love us to play more attractive football, but he knows that sometimes you have to grind out results.

"Unfortunately we’ve ground out a few too many results lately for the fans’ liking without playing the sort of attacking, flair football that the fans want to see.”

But he refuses to criticise the side’s efforts, adding: "I have to put my supporter’s hat to one side because I’m playing in the team now.

“Everyone’s interested in playing attractive football, but football’s about winning games and we have to do whatever we can to do that."

Ferdinand believes the players are right behind Graham’s attempts to get the team back on track: “The players understand what he is trying to do," he said.

"He’s trying to lay the foundations for us to get back to where everyone wants to see us.”

The former England striker says it would all look very different if the team could just bag a win or two away from home.

So far this season Spurs have lost six times on their travels and picked up a solitary point — at Middlesbrough.

Ferdinand says he can’t explain the problem: “Its bizarre, we can’t put our finger on it.

"We haven’t played that badly, barring the games at Aston Villa and Newcastle, where we were outplayed; we haven’t done that badly.”

Ferdinand is hoping to help maintain Spurs’ impressive home form with a goal at home to Leicester City on Saturday.

He notched his third of the season against Liverpool last Sunday, but knows he’s missed too many chances this season.

"One of my coaches once told me that if I was having a bad time in front of goal I should aim at the goalkeeper and they would start going in, but unfortunately at the moment the ‘keepers are saving them,” he said.

Les also has some words of encouragement for his cousin Rio, who is on the verge of completing his £18 million move to Leeds, though he admits the pair aren’t close.

“We’re second cousins and we don’t see each other very much, although I occasionally see him out nightclubbing,” the Spurs player said.

“Rio’s a great player, though, and I’m sure he’ll do well.”

You can see the Les Ferdinand interview in full on the Sky Sports Centre, Friday at 6pm on Sky Sports One