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Winning mentality returns to Spurs after first title in 9 years

Winning mentality returns to Spurs after first title in 9 years

Juande Ramos has drilled a winning mentality into a Tottenham squad that was low on confidence when he inherited it four months ago.
After ending the club's nine-year wait for a trophy, the squad is hungry for more success.
"It gives us a taste of what it's like to win and obviously a lot of players haven't had that in this team," striker Robbie Keane said after Sunday's 2-1 League Cup final victory over Chelsea. "The players in the dressing room are already talking about winning the UEFA Cup. It just tells you about the hunger these players have got."
Having witnessed a series of false dawns since arriving in 2002, Keane now believes the former Sevilla coach has torn down a mental barrier among the players.
"We've proved to ourselves we're quite capable of doing it," the Ireland captain said. "There was such hunger out there after we went a goal down. We showed a lot of resilience and spirit."
The win came after Tottenham thrashed Arsenal 5-1 in the second leg of the semifinal, for its first win since 1999 over its fierce north London rival.
As the champagne flowed Sunday, the players streamed out of the Wembley locker room to rave about the Spaniard, who has hauled them back from the brink of Premier League relegation under Martin Jol in October. The club is now secure in 11th place.
"He's a winner," said Dimitar Berbatov, who canceled out Didier Drogba's Chelsea opener with a penalty kick to send the game into extra time. "He came to win things, and now this is his first trophy of many lets hope."
The Bulgaria striker has been linked with a transfer to one of Europe's powerhouses and his White Hart Lane future will depend on future triumphs.
"The feeling is fantastic. We deserved it," he said. "I'm here and I want to win things."
January signing Jonathan Woodgate made an instant impact in central defense _ and in extra time he scored his first goal in more than five years to etch Tottenham's name on the trophy for the first time since 1999.
"That's why I came because we are a good team, we just need to be more consistent," said Woodgate, who joined from Middlesbrough.
Assistant coach Gus Poyet, who lost the final with Spurs in 2002 against Blackburn, says Ramos has tremendous vision in the heat of battle.
"Juande sees things differently," he said. "He sees things the rest can't see. He makes decisions about changing players that win games."
One of the changes was to bench England goalkeeper Paul Robinson for 10 games after a string of errors. Robinson regained his place last week, and has vowed to see out his remainder of his four-year contract.
"I'm not going to stand and say it's been an easy season, because as you know it's been a rough time for me," said Robinson, who was also axed from Fabio Capello's first England squad. "But to go through the bad times makes me appreciate this win even more. ... I got my head down and worked very, very hard to get my place back and this was my target to get my place back for this game."
Despite questionable positioning for Drogba's free kick, Robinson pulled off a string of decisive saves to protect Woodgate's winning header. But it was a tough week off the pitch as his four-week-old son Jack was hospitalized with bronchiolitis.
"On the field it's put everything into perspective," he said.
It was also an emotional final for captain Ledley King, who has been battling against a long-term knee problem.
"When you're injured you just want to get back," the center back said. "It's not 100 percent at the moment, that's plain and simple. I've had some problems with the knee, I've played games then after the games it's been a bit of a problem. I've not done much training for the last month or so."
But he denied reports that his career was hanging in the balance, saying he expects to be back next season.
"I'm not worried about it one bit," he said. "I'm confident."
And his teammates now believe they can hand Ramos a third straight UEFA Cup triumph in May's final in Manchester. The focus is now on overcoming Dutch league leader PSV Eindhoven in the round of 16.
"We've always been a team with potential and today we stepped up the mark and fulfilled our potential," Robinson said.


Updated : 2021-06-22 13:33 GMT+08:00