Football: Gross starts with a new work ethic at Tottenham

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The Independent Online
Tottenham's players were yesterday getting used to life under a strict new regime as Christian Gross took charge of his first training session.

Gross watched from the stands as Spurs were beaten 1-0 by Crystal Palace on Monday night to leave them just a point off the foot of the Premiership table. His No 2, Chris Hughton, was in charge of team affairs and spoke in the absence of the new coach of the frustration at the loss at White Hart Lane, a fourth successive defeat.

Yesterday, however, Gross took total control and, echoing his disappointment at the defeat, outlined his tough new ideas and made it clear he will do it his way. His effect has already been felt as Spurs players trained yesterday, the morning after a game, on a traditional day off.

And there is more to come. After travelling to Everton on Friday afternoon they may train on Saturday morning before the game at Goodison and then again the day after.

Players will stay away from home even for home games and possibly train twice a day. Add that to the eight first-team players turning out for the reserves at Oxford today and you have some idea of the sweeping changes already made.

It remains to be seen if they produce results, but Gross said: "The players are receptive. It makes sense and they want to improve. I had a good feeling this morning working with the players. I have to convince them about my methods and my ideas.

"I am not going to change everything in one week. I am only going to introduce things that I am convinced are better and make sense, like training this morning. The players felt better after training than they did before."

The hard work he demands of his players for the good of the team has made some question the future of such players as David Ginola. But Gross is a fan of the Frenchman from Ginola's time at Paris St-Germain and expects a lot from the former Newcastle player, whatever role he has.

"It's too early to have a discussion about his final position. I know him from PSG. He can play on both sides. He uses both feet," said Gross.

"It's important that he is going to work for the team and bring his good attitude and he also has to score. I am demanding the midfield players to get into the box otherwise we are not going to score.

"He has to prove himself at Tottenham, not only for himself but also to get into the national team in France. I think he is hungry enough to go to the World Cup. He can prove to Aime Jacquet he is ready."

Gross has a similarly high opinion of Darren Anderton and believes he can make the England squad for France, but is prepared to be patient with a player who has played just 16 games in the last two years.

The former Grasshopper manager has six games before the end of the year to haul Tottenham out of the danger zone and he wants to win all six, starting at Everton on Saturday.

He said: "You can't change much in five days. We have to be realistic. You can't expect that we are going to play an extraordinary game. We have to get a result against Everton. We are at the bottom and we need points."

He knows he faces an uphill struggle, but at least saw some encouraging aspects against Palace. He said: "It's a big challenge for me. Together we might be strong. It's a big club.

"I saw an unlucky team that started well and missed two good chances. Often the team that opens the scoring is going to win and that's what happened. They had a good spirit. I saw them fighting. It's a good attitude.

"We had a lot of possession but not much penetration into the penalty area. The actual situation is that we are at the bottom and we have to work hard to come out and I was happy to start this morning.

"I will give everybody a chance to prove what they can do and give for Tottenham. They have to be proud to wear a Tottenham shirt."

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