Reflecting on last weekend’s defeat at Newcastle…
“I was reading today what I said after the game. Joanne [Whittle, Head of PR and Media Relations] logs what I have said after the game so I don't contradict myself too much or say things that I shouldn't have said, and really, I thought after the game what I actually said sums up exactly what my feelings are today.
“We weren't helped by the fluky first goal. We weren't helped by the two goals basically on half-time and in the first-half injury time, which made the second-half almost impossible for us to get back into it. 1-0 down at half-time might have given us a chance. But the bottom line is it was nothing like the performance that we needed from the team on that day.
“Everyone's in agreement with that, staff and players. We've gone through it pretty comprehensively this week and I really am hoping that that's not something which is going to happen on a regular basis.
“But unfortunately these days if you're in the situation where we find ourselves, which is not amongst that lofty group of clubs at the very top of the league with lots and lots of money to spend, you're going to find yourself, I'm afraid, a few times up against a team which, when they're playing at their top level on the day, are going to ask a lot of questions of you.
“On Saturday we didn't answer those questions, but we're going to be in a similar situation tomorrow night – a team that's in excellent form, playing excellent football, with many good players – so they're going to ask a lot of questions as well. I'm just hoping that the soul-searching that we've done this week as a group will help us confront Tottenham tomorrow and be stronger than we were against Newcastle, who were very good.
“We've not shied away from it, we've not tried to hide from it as a group, and hopefully some of the things we've been able to talk about this week and discuss will help us going forward when we play these top teams like Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur.”
On hopes of bouncing back…
“We’re coming off the back of not a very good performance and a very bad result. Tottenham are top of the table and flying very, very high and are playing extremely well.
“But I'd be surprised if I don't come away from the game tomorrow, irrespective of the result, feeling much better about the team, the players, and our performance than I did against Newcastle. That has been quite rare since Ray [Lewington] and I came back in March and joined up with Paddy McCarthy.
"It's been pretty rare that we've come away from a game disappointed, not only in the team but disappointed in ourselves that we weren't able to put the team in a better position to confront the match.
“I don't expect that to happen, but, like all teams probably facing Tottenham at the moment or teams that are facing Manchester City, Arsenal and Newcastle in particular, there is an element of apprehension, I think is the right word, because you know that we're going to have to be really good tomorrow night if we're going to get anything from the game. I can only expect them to be as good as they've been in the last nine games and to play that quality of football.”