Football: Ginola fears for the future as Spurs crumble

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The Independent Online
Derby County 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1

An honest answer to an honest question is always welcome, but as soon as David Ginola had given his you knew it was a mistake, an invitation to the headline writers to put his head in the stocks.

There he was, tilting back in his chair, all shrugs and pulled faces as his inquisitors sought to tease out the words that would make good copy. He let no one down - although whether the Tottenham fans see it that way is another matter.

"The situation is not encouraging," Ginola said. "We still have a chance... but there are not many games left. Will I stay at Tottenham if we are relegated? It is a good question, a very good question..."

"Excuse me, sir," came the interrupting voice of a red-blazered steward, "but Mr Gross says he would like you on the team bus."

Christian Gross might wish he had dispatched his messenger 10 minutes earlier, before the Frenchman could undermine the morale-boosting positives of his own address. But it was too late.

"To be always losing games is boring and I am only happy when I am enjoying my football," he said. "If you are in mid-table you can play football and if you lose it does not matter.

"But when you are at the bottom it is no consolation to have played well because we have to win points. I have been relegated before but I was only 21 and had my life ahead of me. Now it is different. I don't want to play in the First Division next season; that is something we all have to think about. But I don't know if the confidence is there.

"Two mistakes today and we lose 2-1. All is not lost but there are not many games left."

His manager had been more optimistic. "We were unlucky to lose. It was the best performance since I arrived and if we continue to play like that I believe we will escape," Gross said, winning support, as it happened, from Jim Smith, Derby's manager and another honest man.

"They are good enough to stay up but they have to believe they can play their way out of trouble," he said. "If they felt they had to go the other way and dig in, it would be a mistake. We had a difficult game today and we had a bit of luck."

The bit of luck came in the shape of two mistakes, by Clive Wilson and Sol Campbell, which allowed Dean Sturridge to give Derby a first-half lead and Paulo Wanchope to strike the winner.

In between, Tottenham were largely the better side. But although Ruel Fox, busy and industrious throughout, equalised, there was no real cutting edge.

Goals: Sturridge (25) 1-0; Fox (46) 1-1; Wanchope (77) 2-1.

Derby County (3-4-1-2): Poom; Yates, Stimac, Laursen; Eranio, Carsley, D Powell (Rowett, 74), C Powell; Baiano (Willems, 86); Sturridge, Wanchope. Substitutes not used: Hoult (gk), Dailly, Burton.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-1-2-1-2):Bardsen; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Wilson (Dominguez, 82); Berti; Fox, Sinton (Howells, 74); Ginola; Ferdinand, Klinsmann. Substitutes not used: Grodas (gk), Calderwood, Clemence.

Referee: G Willard (Worthing).

Bookings: Derby: C Powell, Carsley, Eranio. Tottenham: Ginola, Sinton.

Attendance: 30,187.

Man of the match: Fox.

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