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MULLING OVER THE UEFA CUP

Posted on 27 September 2006  - 12:00

Alan Mullery knows a thing or two about European competition - and as we prepare for our home leg against Slavia Prague, he believes the key to our progress in the UEFA Cup are performances away from the Lane.

Alan Mullery knows a thing or two about European competition - and as we prepare for our home leg against Slavia Prague, he believes the key to our progress in the UEFA Cup are performances away from the Lane.

The former Spurs, Fulham and England skipper scored one of the most famous goals in our history when he headed home in the second leg of the UEFA Cup Final against Wolves to secure a 3-2 aggregate win in 1972. As captain, it meant he lifted our second European trophy following the Cup Winners Cup triumph in 1963.

“There are a lot of tough teams in this year’s competition, with more still to join it because you’ve still got the teams who are going to get knocked out of the Champions League coming into the competition, some who may have won their championships in their countries, making it even more difficult,” said Alan, who made 429 appearances for us between 1964-72, also lifting The FA and League Cup.

“But Spurs have a wonderful opportunity of making progress if they can get some good results away from home. That’s such a key in this competition.

“When you go away, it’s really important not to concede in the first 20 minutes and if you do that then you dampen the spirit of the crowd and also the opposition players. It’s crucial the home side isn’t allowed to get the impetus going, that makes it so much harder. And if we can score away from home that would be marvellous, it’s a big advantage to get that away goal.”

Capped 35 times by England during his time at Spurs, Alan has fond memories of those glory, glory nights at the Lane in European compeititon.

“You cannot beat European nights at Tottenham,” he added. “We would turn up at 4pm and the High Street was full of people already, when we walked out there were 50-60,000 people inside the stadium.

“The atmosphere was absolutely amazing and I really hope it will be again this season, because opponents don’t like playing in front of that sort of crowd.”