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Programme: Gus Poyet

Posted on 16 October 2001  - 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).

Our victory over Tranmere Rovers in the Worthington Cup last week was certainly a satisfying result, but one of the highlights of the night was Gus Poyet doing what he does best.

Four minutes after the interval, Gus crept unmarked into the Rovers penalty area to slide home Steffen Freund's cross - a trademark goal if ever there was one. It was Gus's first senior strike for us and one that gave him a great deal of satisfaction.

The Tranmere game was certainly a potential banana-skin for us, but as Gus explains, we approached it in exactly the right manner and that was vital to our impressive win.

"Obviously we had a lot of players away on international duty in the build up to the game which made it hard for us to prepare," he says. "But we showed the right attitude and enjoyed a good win and it was great to score my first goal for the club."

It's been four months now since the Uruguayan international moved across London to join us from Chelsea and he is delighted with the way his Tottenham career is developing.

There have been a few hiccups so far, such as his sending off against Everton and the second half collapse in our last game here against Manchester United, but on the whole it's been a good start for Gus.

"I think I've settled in alright now and things are going well," he says. "Obviously, when you have 45 minutes like we did in the first half against Manchester United it makes you feel happy and good about the future but you end up feeling disappointed when we play the way we did in the second half.

"Perhaps we haven't got enough points on the board considering the way we have played so far. The only game the players and the coaching staff have not been happy about so far - apart from the second half against United - was the game at Blackburn.

"All our other matches have been close, there's been nothing between ourselves and our opponents and only the smallest of margins have separated us.

"But generally I've been pleased with my performances although I know I can do better, especially in the position I'm playing in. I'm not talking about scoring, because the goals will come, but just my general game."

His early season form certainly wasn't helped by his red card at Goodison Park in our second game of the campaign. An appeal was lodged with the FA, but that fell on deaf ears and Gus was left with a three-game suspension.

"That was difficult," he reveals. "You play every game and your fitness levels rise and then suddenly, boom, you're out of action for three games, it's like being injured, you're not allowed to play.

"For about two or three weeks I was holding too many things inside and when I returned I wanted to express everything in 10 minutes, but that's just not possible in football. It's better now but it was tough at the time."

Gus's passion, determination and desire to win are there for all to see on the pitch and, like all of our players, defeat hurts him badly, especially our 5-3 reverse to United just over two weeks ago.

"I know just how the rest of the team took it, and for me it was very hard to accept," says Gus. "I spent all day Sunday and all day Monday thinking about it, asking myself questions as to why and how it happened, what we did wrong and how we could stop it happening again. But it is best for us to think about the first half and not the second."

Tonight represents the chance to get back on track in the Premiership against Derby County but Gus is well aware of the dangers the Rams represent, especially with a new manager at the helm in Colin Todd.

"They are always difficult opponents and because of their position in the table at the moment, they will be even harder to break down," he says. "I think they try to play football, up front they are scoring goals but they concede a few too, so they need to find the right balance.

"In Ravanelli they have a top class striker and our defenders will need to keep a close eye on him. You think he's having a quiet game and then suddenly he's scored, that's the sign of a quality player."

A fair point by Gus, but he could almost be describing himself.