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BBC Sport's Ian Brown
"For many Spurs fan, the result was almost incidental"
 real 14k

Coventry boss Gordon Strachan
"Don't say just do"
 real 14k

Tottenham Director of Football David Pleat
"Our tempo and the way we played from the start was very good"
 real 56k

Saturday, 17 March, 2001, 17:26 GMT
Spurs subdue Coventry challenge
Rebrov
Rebrov steers the ball home to make the score 3-0
Spurs 3-0 Coventry

Coventry started the game with the hungry look of a team fighting for survival, but were subdued by a Spurs side determined to put their off-field problems behind them.

Headers by Steffen Iversen and Les Ferdinand set them on their way to victory in the first-half and a third by Sergei Rebrov settled matters after the break.

It was somewhat ironic that Tottenham's match programme featured a George Graham column, rejoicing in the happy atmosphere created by their FA Cup victory over West Ham.

The man of course had gone, but Tottenham's reason to celebrate remained.


My wife could have run that team today - I didn't change a thing, tactically or otherwise
  David Pleat
Coventry had the best of a lively opening.

Mustafa Hadji found space in the Spurs box after only three minutes, but headed wide when he should have tested Sullivan.

Moments later, Craig Bellamy whipped in a teasing cross that narrowly eluded the onrushing John Hartson, who ended up in the back of the Spurs net without the ball.

The Spurs attack, which had been blunt thus far, finally showed its teeth after 12 minutes.

Ferdinand played in Gary Doherty down the left flank and his well-struck centre fell just out of reach of an advanced Sol Campbell.

Then, after twin strikes from Steven Clemence had brought the best out of Kirkland and adjusted the balance of the match in the home side's favour, a neat Spurs build up won a corner down their right-hand side.

Clemence's 25th-minute delivery was accurate and found Iversen, who climbed highest at the Coventry near post to guide the ball home.

David Pleat
Pleat is in charge for now
Eight minutes later, Spurs doubled their lead.

From a free kick 30 yards out, Clemence once again found Iversen, whose goal-bound header was this time saved by Chris Kirkland.

The Coventry keeper did well to stop the effort but could only deflect the ball into the path of Ferdinand, who nodded home from a yard out.

Coventry struggled to impose themselves on the remainder of the half and the whistle blew to a rousing ovation from the White Hart Lane faithful.

A half-time change of referee - Graham Poll giving way to Paul Taylor due to a pulled hamstring - did nothing to change Coventry's fortunes.

Again they started the brighter, creating a couple of half-chances early on.


We played some good football but failed to take chances and couldn't defend set-pieces
  Gordon Strachan
But Tottenham looked dangerous on the break.

On the hour, a sweeping move involving Ferdinand and Ledley King sent Rebrov clear. The Ukrainian gathered the ball well before slotting it past Kirkland and into a gaping net.

King and Clemence looked among Tottenham's best players and it would have been fitting if a wonderfully-worked King cross to Clemence in the 70th minute had brought a fourth goal.

But Clemence headed powerfully over the bar.

By now, Coventry had the look of a well-beaten side, leaving the Tottenham fans to enjoy the end of a game that delivered them three valuable points and some welcome respite in these uncertain times.


Tottenham: Sullivan, Young, Perry, Campbell, Freund, Clemence, King, Ferdinand, Iversen, Rebrov, Doherty. Subs: Walker, Korsten, Etherington, Davies, Gardner.

Coventry: Kirkland, Shaw, Breen, Thompson, Quinn, Carsley, Eustace, Hadji, Hartson, Hall, Bellamy. Subs: Aloisi, Chippo, Telfer, Edworthy, Hedman.

Referee: G Poll (Tring).

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