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Goran recalls Chelsea pain

Posted on 3 April 2004  - 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).

The prospect of Chelsea next on the White Hart Lane fixture list brings back painful memories for Goran Bunjevcevic.

The versatile Serbian was just three games into his Spurs career back on September 16 2001 when Chelsea arrived at the Lane for what was his first taste of a London derby and the chance to test his adaption to English football against one of the Premiership's leading sides.

It did not prove to be an experience that lasted the full 90 minutes and proved to be one that would keep him out of first team picture for the following two months. A collision with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink on the half way line left the recruit from Red Star Belgrade grounded with a fractured cheekbone.

In was an injury that effectively ruined his first campaign in the Premiership as he then struggled to break back into the first team and he subsequently fell victim to tendinitis in the knees that ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

And it was all going so well. Before the Chelsea encounter, Goran was part of the side that drew 0-0 with Aston Villa and the one that mounted a heroic rearguard action with nine men to secure a 1-1 draw away at Everton.

"That's right, the Chelsea game - I still think - was a key game for me at the time for my future in England," reflected Goran, who returned for the reserves wearing a protective mask. "I had played three games before that and then played Chelsea and broke my cheekbone in the clash with Hasselbaink.

"It destroyed my completely, I was eight weeks out of football then I returned and suffered with knee injuries. It was difficult, I still think that was a key game for me to establish myself in England."

Fast forward to the present and Goran feels that the current Chelsea side will present a challenge that the team will relish taking on this weekend.

"It will be hard game for us, especially as we have a big and bad record against Chelsea. They are now chasing Arsenal and have lots of players, lots of big names.

"I think Spurs play better against the stronger teams at home. The players get excited about these home games and I think we can have some success against Chelsea."