I do so in the knowledge that we face a stiff challenge against the men from Stamford Bridge and I want to stress the importance that our supporters can play in any success that we achieve this season.
You did it got us at the end of last season against Manchester United and again played your part last week against Southampton.
I’ve said before — and Teddy Sheringham repeated the message in his Southampton programme notes — that there are times when a crowd can actually get the players going and the players respond to that.
I must say you were absolutely first class against the Saints and the atmosphere, particularly in the second-half, gave me a real lift on the bench — let alone what it did for the players. It raised me and gave me a boost and you could see how it galvanised the lads on the field.
There is no doubt that they responded well to all that encouragement. Sometimes players can go into their shells but on this occasion our players reacted well to it. It was wonderful to hear such vocal support and that is what we need continually.
I’ve been away from the club for a long time and slowly but surely there has been a disjointment here. I feel there is a chance of that coming back together like a big jigsaw where the supporters are with the club, with the team, with the manager and the management and players respond to them. When you have a club like that you can go places.
I honestly believe that our supporters won us the points on Sunday. True the players have to do the job in the end but the crowd absolutely changed the atmosphere around from the first half and that was the difference. The proof is there — we got the goals, could have got more and, if you continue that support, we’ll respond to it. There will be games when we score early and maybe you’ll want to support us for that but as the match progresses, rather than get anxious and get on top of the team, be positive in the knowledge that you can help change a game.
Unfortunately, our injury situation is no brighter. None of the long termers are ready to come back as yet and another problem is that we have at least three players carrying knocks. We also have a lot of football to play in a very short time and the squad hasn’t got the beef on it that we’d like. In pre-season we had a very strong squad and we could have fielded two teams on the same day but at the moment we’re not in that position.
Now back to Chelsea. It’s ironic to have back to back league games against two teams I’ve managed and once again we’ve got to believe in ourselves. The Southampton success has put us in a positive mood and we have to see that as a fresh start for this club and one that we must now build on.
It has been a long time since we’ve beaten Chelsea and this is an opportunity for the team to show people that there is a change. We’re going into this game in the knowledge that if we do beat them then that will lay the ghost and prove to people that this is a new Tottenham. There is a lot to play for today, more than just three points.
Ironically when I was here as a player we used to beat them all the time, so this is a new situation to me as well. Last season when we lost 3-0 it was men against boys. We had too many kids out and so I’m not taking that as a real barometer.
Chelsea represent a stumbling block that has been here for a long time but we can use it as a stepping stone. That is the big thing for the club. Together we can do it if we go out there with a positive mind and with the supporters behind us. I will look after the first part but we need your input for the second.
We can’t change the last 14 years but we can change a lot this afternoon.
This afternoon I am delighted to welcome all from Chelsea to White Hart Lane.