Ramos applies the polish in challenge for top
Thursday 28 February 2008
Tottenham players have returned to training after winning the Carling Cup and head coach Juande Ramos has warned there will be plenty more hard work before they can challenge the "Big Four".
Ramos masterminded Spurs' victory over Chelsea on Sunday that ended a nine-year wait for a trophy but the target for the club is a place in the Champions League.
Under Martin Jol they finished fifth in the Premier League in consecutive campaigns. But Ramos said: "We still cannot be considered one of the big teams. We are not at the same level as Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool. We have to continue working from game to game, although the trophy will makes things slightly easier. There are still many defects yet to polish."
Ramos has changed the players' diets and there have been reports of Tottenham using a special chamber that mimics the effect of training at altitude, helping stamina. The result has been silverware for Ramos within four months at White Hart Lane after getting the squad to believe in his methods. "I needed to change the mentality because a negative dynamic was developing," he added.
There is still the possibility of a double if Spurs win the Uefa Cup, the competition Ramos won with Seville in the last two seasons.
Assistant coach Gus Poyet admits the players may have their mind on Europe rather than the league game at Birmingham at the weekend. "It's our job to make sure we are ready for Saturday," he said. "I know the players maybe will be looking at the Uefa Cup but there is the Premier League and we have to respect the teams above us and below us. It's also important not to lose momentum."
Jonathan Woodgate, who scored the winner in the Carling Cup final, agrees that performing in the league is of great importance now. "You saw that we are a good team and play on our day but we need to be more consistent," he said.
Meanwhile, Poyet feels cup success was a fitting reward for Robbie Keane after his efforts for the club since arriving in 2002. Poyet added: "It's important to have those players at the club – that is why Robbie is probably one of the favourites. I know he had the chance sometime to get paid more at another club or whatever.
"When he arrived at this club he was young and had already played for four or five teams, he needed to settle down. It took him a while to win but he deserved it, the most probably. Even if you score 100 goals like him, winning a trophy is something totally different."
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