Paul Robinson looks back on a week of highs and lows with Spurs and England...
How much of a boost was the convincing result against Derby?
Paul Robinson: It was important we scored early and followed up with the second and third and that made the rest of the game pretty easy for us. We were disappointed with the first two results and we wanted to improve against Derby, start fast and get that early goal to settle any nerves. We did just that.
For the team as a whole, the clean sheet must have gone down well.
PR: Yes, we didn’t have many clean sheets last season and to get one there was important. After the start we were always going to win the game and we wanted to make sure it was a shut out as well.
That took you into the England game and it’s a goalkeeper’s lot – one passage of play didn’t go your way.
PR: That’s football. It’s a difficult one for me, I’ve been there before and had the criticism before after the Croatia game and I’m definitely a stronger person for that. In fact, that will help me deal with what’s happened this week. I’ll be stronger again for it. I’ve been really pleased with how I’ve played for Tottenham this season and I’ll aim to continue doing that.
How much of a test of character is it?
PR: A huge test, because it doesn’t just affect me, I’ve a wife and family, parents and you have to be strong for them – and I will be. My performances for Tottenham will continue to be good.
It’s a whole new level of scrutiny at national level – the whole country is looking in.
PR: They are and that’s the expectancy that goes with playing for England, everything gets magnified and everyone sees it. That comes with the territory. It’s a difficult job being the England goalkeeper and I won’t deny that. It’s the job everyone wants when they are a kid, the best job in the world but some days – like the last couple of days – it’s also the worst job.
All you can do personally is pick yourself up and dust yourself down.
EPR: Exactly right. We’ve another important game this Sunday and we need to keep things going after the Derby result.
Back on the home front, it’s been a week where we found ourselves all over the newspapers for various reasons – what’s the players’ perspective on the issues of the week?
PR: It’s been a difficult week for the Club. Looking back on it now, from the very top to the players, it’s made us stronger and we’re all pulling in the same direction, as has always been the case. There have been a few conversations held and we all know what we want together and hopefully we’ll be able to achieve it collectively.
Is it almost a case of strength from perceived adversity?
PR: Without a doubt. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and as a group it’s brought us all closer together and that’s not just the manager but also the players and the board.
So going into Manchester United, the mood of the players is as we would all expect for such a big game?
PR: The players are buoyant, all looking forward to the game and determined to get another positive result.
What about the challenge of United?
PR: They are strong, it will be tough and it always will be at Old Trafford. We’ll be going there in good spirits after the Derby result looking to put in a performance and pick up some points.
Is there a real belief that we can mix it with the top four?
PR: There has been from the beginning of the season and there has to be. We all know what’s expected of this club, we’ve made big strides and we want to continue doing so.
This interview will soon appear on Spurs TV Online...