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Programme notes: George Graham

Posted on 5 September 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Welcome back to White Hart Lane. The opening to the season has seen us win one match, draw one and lose another. I was pleased with our first two games but obviously disappointed with the third at Newcastle.

I thought after the form we had shown here against Ipswich and then at Middlesbrough, there was genuine room for optimism up at Newcastle. But we gave them a goal start after nine minutes, without them earning the right to that lead, and after that we just couldn't get back into the game.

So that was disappointing after two good results from two solid performances.

Nowadays in the Premiership you've done well if you can come back to win after going a goal down. So I was very pleased with our last game here against Ipswich when we scored three and could have had five, twice hitting the woodwork as well.

Obviously, the newly-promoted sides are at their most dangerous in the opening games. They have usually finished on a high by the very fact of gaining promotion so their team pattern of play is already well cemented. They are also always confident and don't forget that it was only the season before that newly-promoted Watford went to Anfield and beat Liverpool.

I was delighted with that success because, although Ipswich kept possession very well, we created the chances in the game. And at Boro we again finished strongly and in the last 20 minutes were going for the win rather than the home side.

Overall, I was pleased with our showing up there because it's never easy and if you look at some of the early results in the Premiership, there have already been a lot of shocks in which the big teams have been losing commanding leads.

Now, after such a busy opening, things have quietened down and preparations are made difficult because so many players are away on international duty. To my mind we've got to get uniformity in the Premiership because we can't go on having three games in one week and then all of a sudden nothing for 10 days.

I believe that in the near future football is going to be better organised. Club football will have to stop for a month because the current series of interruptions to the domestic programme during the season for international games will have to become a thing of the past with more games played at the end of the season.

Most managers are always extremely nervous when their players are away, and that's certainly been the case here at Tottenham. However, our injury situation at the start of this season has probably been the best it has been for years and we need that to continue. So I'm just hoping that the boys will come back injury free and that's why I had them in at the training ground with me on Sunday to assess that they're fit and not carrying any little knocks.

Now we turn our attention to Everton. I am a big admirer of Walter Smith, he did a great job at Rangers and took over a very big club that was going through a hard time. Now he's turned Everton around. They had a very good season last time and he will want to improve on that because Everton are one of the top clubs.

Like ourselves Everton, together with Newcastle and Villa, are trying to break up the current monopoly of the big four or five clubs. It will be a tough job but we're both capable of getting there.