Here are Glenn Hoddle's programme notes for Tuesday night's game against Bradford City.
The disappointment suffered by all our players and staff after Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final defeat by Arsenal goes without saying. It is a terrible stage in the competition at which to lose and, as you will appreciate, that feeling of utter dejection was so evident in the dressing room afterwards.
We were also disappointed for the fans because the patient support that you gave us was magnificent on the day and you created a terrific atmosphere. But it just wasn’t to be.
We had tested Sol at 9am, not realistically expecting him to have a chance of playing, but suddenly he came through and that gave us a massive boost. While Sol was on the pitch we looked quite solid, went one-nil up and it might have been a different day for us. Then Sol injures his other ankle and Vieira scores from exactly where Sol would have been in his marking!
True there were obviously other factors in what was always going to be a difficult game for us. In the end we have to admit that we just didn’t pass the ball well enough and our aspirations were hindered by other consequences.
Les was coming on to a good game and then at half-time came in with a hamstring problem. We let him have a few more minutes because I was originally going to change things with Les on the pitch, but I then had to reassess and wait to make the substitution rather than do it immediately.
So there was a lot of dismantlement. Stephen Carr and Tim Sherwood did terrifically well considering that they had been out a long time with injuries as had Stephen Clemence while Ledley was also injured soon after going on! So that sharpness wasn’t there. We looked jaded.
Yet I still thought that there were some wonderful performances against one of the best teams in the country, if not in Europe. Neil Sullivan was outstanding and our younger players will certainly benefit and know better how to deal with things when they experience similar circumstances, as they surely will.
So it’s a strange feeling to be six days into a job and to feel that disappointed! But I’ve now got to start a new process, that’s how I’m looking at it. I would have loved to have started off by winning a trophy for the club and getting into Europe, because that is important, but that wasn’t to be and, as I’ve illustrated, a lot of circumstances went against us on the day to make sure that didn’t happen.
We now need to make ourselves better able to shape our own destiny and not be so thrown off course by outside influences.
I am determined and firmly believe that there will be success around the corner. With the people involved in the club, and with the style it will be run in on and off the pitch, I know that we will succeed. And that excites me. We will be working hard on the lads already here and bringing in new players that are going to fit into my style of football.
That process begins now. It will take some time but, by the time next summer’s
pre-season ends, we will be a lot further down that line.
However, we still have this season to consider and starting tonight against Bradford City, we have to be aware of the fact that, if we can put a magnificent run together, then who knows? Football is that strange and a European spot could go down to seventh place in the table. Three good wins could make all the difference. True, that’s made more difficult with the injury position we’re in because we’ve got eight senior players out, now including Les and Ledley, and that’s too many from key positions, but we’ll certainly be having a go.
By the end of the season it’s about what I’ve learned from my players and what they have received from John, Chris and myself, starting with basic principles. In essence, I want us to be a passing team — but organised — and that’s going to take a bit of time.
Coming back to White Hart Lane is a marvellous feeling for me but there is much to do and it won’t happen overnight. Eventually, over a period of time, I want people to come to the ground and enjoy their football. They will start to see light at the end of the tunnel and we can then build on that. That is one of my key aims and I am excited about this challenge as is my assistant John Gorman and Chris Hughton who has come on board as first team coach.
That’s three Tottenham people doing the job, not only for ourselves but for the fans and for everybody involved. You work at that deeper level when you have a feel for a club and that’s important. It’s the same with the new owners — they too are Tottenham people. Daniel Levy and David Buchler have come in with blue blood in their veins and with a very positive outlook. With everyone pulling together, the club can be taken forward. I know this can happen — but only with a lot of hard work, patience and belief.
In closing, welcome to everybody from Bradford whose need for points will certainly provide us with a stern test tonight. We have to be ready to face that challenge head on.