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Praise for Vega

Posted on 24 September 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

George Graham was full of praise for comeback king Ramon Vega after the goalless draw against Manchester City.

The Swiss defender replaced injured Sol Campbell and staked his claim for his place in the side for the next few weeks with an assured display defensively.

In his first home start in the Premiership in almost a year, Vega also proved a threat at the other end - his raids forward included hitting the woodwork with a header in the second half.

The boss said: "I thought he had a very good game. He's had a lot of criticism from certain quarters but I thought he did very well.

"I just told Ramon to keep his game simple and prove some of these people wrong. He answered the few critics he's got with that performance and it's nice to see.

"I don't like to see any player receive personal criticism, whether it be from Tottenham or any other club. It's not good for the game. I like it when these players then go out and play well."

Vega won his personal battle against Paulo Wanchope and almost cracked it at the other end when his 46th minute header beat City hero Nicky Weaver only to come back off the bar.

Apart from Sergei Rebrov's disallowed effort, that was the only time Weaver was beaten. He produced save after save from Rebrov, Iversen and the pick of the bunch from Les Ferdinand in the second minute.

"On chances we outscored them by far but again, their goalkeeper was man of the match," added George.

"That's two games now against City and Charlton if we had won both we'd have been top of the league. But goalkeepers are playing well against us.

"We knew it would be a battle with the way they play. When they lose the ball they revert to a 4-5-1, pack the midfield and when they get the ball the wide men push on.

"They make it difficult and you can see why they are putting in good away performances.

"You just need a break against a team like that. I think if we'd have got the first goal we could have gone on to get two or three. They are strong, well organised, have a good team spirit and defended well. You have to give them credit."