Football: Saints pay no regard to Spurs

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE HAVE-NOTS of Southampton, in overturning the haves of Tottenham 2-1 on Monday night at White Hart Lane, illustrated that money is not necessarily the key to success in the Premiership.

Matthew Le Tissier, the Saints' most valuable assest, and a home-grown talent at that, scored both the visitors' goals to register their first win of the season in controversial circumstances, and exposed yet again the defensive frailties that threaten to undermine an exciting but vulnerable Spurs side.

Tottenham have taken their spending to pounds 7.5m with the signing of the pounds 2.9m Romanian World Cup defender, Gheorghe Popescu - set to make his debut at Leicester on Saturday - wheras Saints' sole new signing on view was the veteran goalkeeper, Bruce Grobbelaar, signed on a free transfer from Liverpool during the summer.

It illustrated the financial gap that exists between the two clubs, which the early lead gained by the prolific Jurgen Klinsmann, another of Tottenham's expensive foreign imports, appeared to underline. But then Spurs they faltered. A controversial penalty decision in the 75th minute, which saw Sol Campbell sent off for his lunging tackle on the advancing Neil Heaney, gave Le Tissier the chance to level the score, and two minutes from time he capitalised on an error by Stuart Nethercott to hit an easy winner from Jeff Kenna's lofted cross.

'We weren't too worried after the early goal went in,' said Le Tissier. 'We had our tactics worked out. We went to Newcastle and were a bit negative in our approach. We decided not to do that again. We decided to attack Spurs and we created some very good chances.

'Coming here and winning is great for our confidence. If we can win here we know we can go anywhere in the country and win.'

The Southampton manager, Alan Ball, who has called the escalating transfer fees 'barmy', added: 'We said before the game that if you fight fire with fire against Spurs.

'Their strengths can become their weaknesses. If you keep getting at them, and having a go and believe you can do it, then you can. We proved that.'

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