Programme: Glenn Hoddle
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).
The result of our last game here against Arsenal almost felt like a win because we scored the goal so late in the match. But I have to say over 90 minutes I thought we were the better side, we created more and passed the ball well and could have gone in 2-0 up at half-time.
It was disappointing we weren’t leading at that stage and even more so to go out and then see Arsenal take the lead. They had a spell of pressure, but it wasn’t sustained and they didn’t create much, just a few long shots although one led to their goal. But I was pleased with the way we responded, we were very positive, kept going right to the end and showed great character and belief in ourselves to come back. Okay, so it was a mistake at the end by Richard Wright but it was forced on him by our pressure.
They did that to Spurs last year but that was a game Arsenal deserved to win, whereas we deserved to win this season. I’ve been pleased with the way we’ve played against the top five teams so far and it shows that we are definitely bridging the gap. In the second round of matches against these sides this season, we have got to make sure we get results.
I was delighted with a point and it was a smashing goal by Gus. It came from a great ball from Sergei when a lot of pressure was on his shoulders and all credit to him, he’s come on and affected the game which is exactly what we wanted.
That result kept the week ticking along and the lads came into training with a spring in their step. If we had lost that game it would have been a bit of a blow and maybe we wouldn’t have carried on that positive momentum going into the West Ham game.
But we went across to Upton Park for another London derby, a game which has always been difficult for Tottenham. I can’t remember going over there very often and winning during my playing career, probably two or three times in all the years I was here.
So it was great to go and win the game in third gear. We scored one, hit the post twice and also the crossbar so it could have been a much more comfortable victory but I never felt as if we got into top gear and that’s a great sign.
We not only won but did so without them really creating a chance. That’s what’s really pleased me, two London derbies — Arsenal at home and West Ham away — and yet neither side have really created one chance where they’ve carved us open inside our penalty area. We’ve nullified that by defending really well as a team.
I said to the players at the start of the season that what we achieve will depend on how we defend as a team not what we do with the ball. I’m confident and happy with the shape we are playing when in possession and the players we have who can score and create goals. But it’s not about the goalkeeper, back three, back five or whatever but about defending from front to back and I’m delighted with how well we’re doing that.
It has perhaps stemmed from the second half here against Manchester United, which was such a massive blow at the time, but out of something negative we have drawn positives. We went to Tranmere and won which started a good run of form, but we now have to keep that going for the next batch of games.
That starts tonight against Bolton, who have been excellent this year. Sam Allardyce and his staff have done a fantastic job there. He’s bought shrewdly in the transfer market and they’ve been the surprise package, just like Ipswich were last year. They’ve had some wonderful results and are excelling themselves, they are picking up wins when nobody expects them to, they’re well organised and solid as a team.
Tonight is going to be a very difficult game, we will need to work extremely hard to get the points. We will have to be a little bit patient and so will you all, similar to the way you were against Derby and Middlesbrough here, when you got behind the team and we managed to overcome both opponents.
Congratulations to Ledley King who is the Evening Standard player of the month for November and deservedly so, he’s been very consistent throughout this season and let’s hope he can keep up his level of performance.
Ledley is a player who we value greatly here, we have high hopes for him and I can assure fans that there is absolutely no truth in the stories circulating last week about him moving to another club. We are trying to build for the future and that doesn’t involve selling our best players.
Good news on the long-term injury victims with Steffen Iversen, Stephen Clemence and Tim Sherwood all having had reserve games recently. They are finding their feet and getting the rustiness out of their systems. We’ve got a lot of games during this month so we are going to need a very strong squad to cope with the demand.
We welcome Dave Beasant to the club, who was on the bench against Arsenal, a great way to start off his Tottenham career. The reason we had to go and get Dave was because Kasey Keller had an operation on his ankle and a very successful one at that. In fact, Kasey is back and running already, but he’s still a way off being fully fit so we had to get cover. Dave was available and we wish him well, he has a great attitude to the game.
It was great to meet up this week with Ricky Villa again, who popped his head in to the training ground. I haven’t seen Ricky since our days together playing and he was at Spurs Lodge with Keith Burkinshaw. We had a laugh and reminisced and it was wonderful to see them. I think Ricky is coming to the game tonight so let’s hope we can put on a good performance for him.