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George full of north-eastern promise

Posted on 25 August 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

George Graham wore the look of a contented man as he reflected on his team's start to the new campaign, which sees them lie among a clutch of clubs at the head of the Premiership table. Relaxing in the sunshine after training at Spurs Lodge on Thursday George looked ahead to the challenge of a second trip to the north-east in five days.

The manager was encouraged by the application shown by the team on Tuesday in the 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough and gave the impression that a trip to Newcastle holds no fears for his reshaped side. "It could have been better, our away performance in the north-east against Middlesbrough was very, very encouraging," said a delighted boss. "It was the manner of the performance that was pleasing just as much as the result.

Last year we went up there four times and didn' t get anything from any of our trips. So this is a bonus this year and it could have even been more." Returning briefly to the more pragmatic side of his character, George refuses to get carried away with early season optimism. "We don't get excited about it. Once we get six wins on the trot we might get excited, but it's a good start.

We're all happy and satisfied but we're professional enough to know that's what it is - a good start "The way we are playing, good attractive football and we're also playing a bit more from the back." This could be something of a theme for Saturday's clash, set to be played in front of a full house containing in excess of 50,000 supporters.

Graham holds no thought of simply playing a containing game in what is sure to be a high-octane atmosphere. "We'll try to do what we did against Middlesbrough. If they have the situation where they push forward being the home side then we'll have to defend.

But when we get the ball I want us to attack. I thought we showed that against Middlesbrough that we weren't going to sit back for the majority of the game and then let them come at us."

George went on to utter a sentiment that is sure to warm the hearts of Spurs fans for the long season ahead. "I think this team especially is probably better going forward than sitting back so we may as well play to our strengths."

You can watch the Newcastle match live at White Hart Lane on Saturday. It will be shown on the Jumbotron and admission is L5 for adults and FREE for children (under 16s) and OAPs.