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George ambitious as ever

Posted on 18 August 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

George Graham has admitted he cannot look outside the 'big five' for this season's champions - but insisted, in time, he can break into the Premiership's elite at Tottenham.

Our manager, facing the nation's press at Spurs Lodge on Friday, also underlined that he was ambitious as ever. He said: "I don't think it's a secret the way the championship race is going.

"Everyone rates the top five in Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Leeds and Liverpool, I think the champions will come from them and then there is another half-a-dozen clubs trying to get into that sixth position and hopefully qualify for Europe as well. If we can get into Europe I would be delighted.

"I still think we're playing catch up with those clubs. We're not strong enough yet. There are a few big clubs like Newcastle, Everton as well as us who have avoided relegation and if you think you can compete for the championship within two or three years you must be in dreamland. It will take longer than that.

"If we get it right we will be big enough to challenge that top five. Newcastle will be big enough, Everton will be big enough - but it's going to take time to get that squad of players.

"It would be good for the game if other big clubs including ourselves could manage it. I'm very optimistic. We've got three new signings who I think are very good signings but we need more and we have to be patient.

"We can't go out and buy eight, nine players for x amount of pounds, it's impossible. That's a fact of life. I can't see a team avoiding relegation one year and winning the championship two years later.

"But I don't want to think we're not as good as them. Last season, within a month, we beat United, Arsenal, Liverpool and then we let the fans down. I've got to improve on that. I'm as ambitious as ever and didn't come here to be mid-table or avoid relegation."