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Spurs v Villa: Analysis - Brad Friedel

Posted on 7 January 2017  - 18:15

Brad Friedel played with distinction for both ourselves and Villa - setting a new Premier League record along the way. Who better to look at Sunday's FA Cup tie than the USA goalkeeping legend?

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Brad Friedel

Played for Villa 2008-11
Played for Spurs 2011-15
Premier League record 310 consecutive starts between 2004-2012
82 caps and three World Cups - 1994, 1998, 2002 - for the US

Brad on Villa's approach...

"It’s a really interesting time for Villa. They’ve finally found a manager to stabilise the club and Steve Bruce is very well-versed in getting teams out of the Championship and keeping them in the Premier League. I think they are one of the outsiders to sneak into the play-offs during the second half of the season. I would imagine he will play a mixed team of starters and players who he’d like to see in action that he hasn’t been able to see so far. A club like Villa needs to be in the Premier League. Will he put out a team to compete? Absolutely. Will he have bigger emotions for the league performances? Yes, he will."

Below: Brad celebrates after saves in the penalty shoot-out against Hull in the League Cup - October, 2013

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Brad on Villa...

"If you look in one column since Steve took over - goals conceded - it’s a lot lower. Quite often when a new manager goes into a club, the first thing they try to address is defending, and he’s done that. Villa are far more competitive and far more difficult to break down. I think another thing - and I say this without having played for him - is that the players genuinely seem to take a liking to him and want to play for him and when you get that respect, they will run that extra yard for you. I totally anticipate Villa trying to do that against Tottenham because if they don’t, Tottenham will run all over them and that’s the case whoever Tottenham play, they are one of the fittest and most competitive teams in the whole to Europe."

Below: Brad makes a flying save for Villa

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Brad on our approach...

"For Spurs, it’s mainly about the mental approach. You can’t take the game lightly or think you’ve won it before you step on the field - like every game, you have go out and earn your victory. Mauricio has changed the mental approach of how the players view themselves and approach the games. That’s not an easy thing to do or something that can be done overnight. When the draw was made, of all the top Premier League clubs out there, I’m pretty sure Steve Bruce wouldn’t have wanted Tottenham because he knows no matter who Mauricio plays there is one certainty, and that’s they will be hard to beat."

Below: Brad in training in 2012

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Brad's time at Villa...

"I was really lucky in my career, I didn’t catch too many bad times at clubs. We did well at Villa (they finished sixth in the Premier League three seasons on the trot) and in one of those seasons, we should really have finished third but the goals dried up towards the end of the season. It was one of the best run clubs I've been at."

Below: Brad in action for the USA at the 2002 World Cup

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Brad's time at Spurs...

"I didn’t really know what to expect when I moved clubs at 40, but it couldn’t have turned out better. I really enjoyed my time at Spurs and ended it with a season under Mauricio Pochettino, who is different to any coach I’d had. Mauricio is a very compassionate man, he speaks with actions not words, each member of his staff knows his role and he’s old and wise in his mind but not in his years. He has a way of playing and knows what needs to be done on a daily basis. He really is very impressive. It was a tremendous end to my career, I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better at the age 44."

Below: Hugo Lloris

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Brad on Hugo...

Brad actually held onto his place after Hugo's arrival in the summer of 2012 with the French star and now Club captain eventually taking over in November, 2012.

"I started that season (2012-13), had a run of good games and that’s why I continued but myself and Hugo spoke regularly about it and I’d say ‘don’t worry, you are the guy for the long-term’. What a fantastic choice. He’s a remarkably humble character, a quiet, unassuming guy. He comes up with very big saves and what I really like about goalkeepers is that we all make mistakes – it’s how you react to those mistakes and generally speaking, if Hugo ever makes a mistake, the next game is either a clean sheet or another good performance or both! That shows tremendous character. He’s in the top five in the world, definitely. People used to talk between Neuer or Courtois then it’s Buffon, Lloris and De Gea. He’s been at that level for a few years and it’s then about what you want from your goalkeeper."

Below: One of Brad's last appearances for us in a pre-season friendly against Seattle - July, 2014

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What Brad's up to now...

"I’m Head Coach of the Under-19s and assistant for the Under-20s with US Soccer and I'm still a pundit for Fox Sports - I'm covering the FA Cup with Fox this weekend."