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Football: Gascoigne defended by Robson

BRYAN ROBSON, the Middlesbrough manager, has come to the defence of Paul Gascoigne after newspaper reports of a drinking binge following Tuesday night's 3-2 victory at Wimbledon.

"Gazza's annoyed because he feels that since pre-season, he's never been out of the house," he said. "He's just gone back to his house and kept himself to himself, and the first time he goes out to try to relax and do a little bit of something different, this happens.

"Let's put the record straight. Gazza had asked me if he could go to the premier of Hugh Grant's new film. The kid played in the game, did everything that was asked of him and then went to the film premiere. He wouldn't have got there until 11.30pm and the premiere finished at 1am.

"People interpret things how they want to interpret them, but I don't class 11.30pm to 1am as a binge. I spoke to Gazza early on Wednesday morning when he was coming back because he was coming in for some treatment on a tight hamstring and he sounded fine. I had no problem with it."

Gascoigne's form on the pitch and his link-up with Paul Ince at Selhurst Park have been more than satisfactory for Robson, but he insists that it is the whole, rather than the sum of its parts, that counts.

"We're not going to get carried away," he said. "It's only one game against Wimbledon. In their careers, they've both been top players and I don't really want to talk about individuals because it was an overall good team performance."