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George's programme notes

Posted on 11 September 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Welcome back to White Hart Lane .

The key to our victory over Everton last week was the goal that we pulled back just before half-time because that gave us a lift and the platform from which we could go on to win.

Going 2-0 down illustrates that it wasn't the greatest of first periods from our point of view but we changed our tactics in the second-half and started to put a lot of pressure on their back four - something that we hadn't done enough of previously.

Once again there were loads of goals in the game, mainly because both defences were below par on the night. In fact, I've found that looking at the majority of the Premiership over the last couple of years, the general level of defending had deteriorated across the board.

In addition, our current team always looks better going forwards so we might as well attack teams as much as possible at home and away.

True we can't go on giving teams head starts but we're showing lots of character these days to haul ourselves back into games. We're not lying down any more, we're coming up and fighting back and if attacking is the best part of our game just now then we'll play to that strength rather than defending a lead.

That's the way we'll be looking to approach games as we go out to maintain our current ratio of goals scored.

We managed six goals in our first two home matches and we've got to try to keep that going.With Steffen Iversen, for example, on the bench the other night - and Chris Armstrong coming back - we've got a good spread up front which has not always been the case in the past.

We can now rest our forwards at different times to ensure their freshness and keep them at their sharpest.

Unfortunately, we suffered the setback of losing Darren Anderton early in that game but the news there is not as bad as some people would want to believe. It's a new injury to his groin, thankfully not a reoccurrence of his old problem, and he should be back in a few weeks.

It's bad timing for us and for the lad because he had a good rest in the summer and came back to show top form in the first few games of the season. It's a setback but no more than that. There's no reason why he can't come back quicker than expected - and back in the form that he's shown up to now.

Ben Thatcher was also injured and replaced after a collision earlier on in the game. He was having trouble with his chest and his breathing and that was part of the reason for the bad back pass that gave Everton their first goal. But he should he alright before too long.

Now we welcome West Ham who we have not done so well against in recent seasons. We have to look for another strong performance from ourselves but probably more importantly, a good result. I always believe that the first months of a season are all about results and if you look at the Championship you can see how topsy-turvy it currently all is. Some of the unfancied teams that you expect to see in the middle of the table, are at the top but, as I say, it's early days yet and the real pattern has yet to emerge.

I was obviously disappointed with our showing at Newcastle, but apart from that we're going in the right direction. Like most other clubs, there are certain aspects of our game that we need to improve on, but I prefer to concentrate of the positive and build on that.

I think it's good that the top clubs are dropping points because it makes it more interesting over the first few months of the season before things settle down.

Once we reach the end of November and we've all played 12 games, you start to get a truer picture of how it's going to go.