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Ramos backs losing penalty-takers

Juande Ramos
Ramos won the Uefa Cup with Sevilla in 2006 and 2007

Tottenham boss Juande Ramos refused to blame his players after the Uefa Cup defeat by PSV Eindhoven on penalties.

With the tie at 1-1, the 6-5 defeat was the first competitive shoot-out loss of his career and he was unaware English teams have a poor spot-kick record.

"I didn't know about it," said the Spaniard. "Every player that takes a penalty is courageous."

Everton also lost on penalties, going down 4-2 against Fiorentina after levelling the tie 2-2 on aggregate.

Jermaine Jenas and Pascal Chimbonda missed from the spot as Spurs lost their shoot-out.

However, Ramos, who had won the previous two Uefa Cup finals with Sevilla, said of his penalty-taking players: "I can only congratulate them on having that courage."

Our objective in this match was to win it and we did that - unfortunately we had to go to penalties and it is then like a lottery

Juande Ramos

Tottenham looked to be heading into the quarter-finals when goalkeeper Paul Robinson repelled Danko Lazovic's penalty, but Huerelho Gomes saved from Jenas before Chimbonda's sudden-death miss proved decisive.

"When it comes to the fifth penalty it's heads or tails," added Ramos. "If it went in we would have been through. That is the way it is.

"Of course everybody is sad because we came so close and did everything we could."

Having lost the first leg 1-0 at White Hart Lane, Dimitar Berbatov's 81st-minute volley in the Phillips Stadion drew Spurs level on aggregate.

"Our objective in this match was to win it and we did that," stated Ramos. "Unfortunately, we had to go to penalties and it is then like a lottery.

Everton players commiserate Phil Jagielka
Jagielka is consoled by his Everton team-mates

"We have two months left in the Premier League so I hope the players are able to get up and do their best for the rest of the season."

The England national team has been eliminated from four of its last six major tournaments on penalties and Everton suffered the same fate as Spurs in the Uefa Cup on Wednesday.

Goals by Andrew Johnson and Mikel Arteta handed David Moyes' men a 2-0 victory after extra time but Yakubu Ayegbeni and Phil Jagielka missed their spot-kicks in the shoot-out to deny Everton a place in the last eight.

"Players have different styles of penalties," commented Moyes. "Sometimes they can blast them but they then fly over the crossbar.

"That's all it is but we practised them in training the day before the game and I went with the players that I trusted.

"It's just an unfortunate way to go out but we have to get over it."

606: DEBATE
PLT

Everton squandered numerous opportunities to score the decisive third goal but domestically they are locked in a battle with Liverpool for the fourth Champions League spot and, at the very least, are in a good position to qualify for Europe again through the Uefa Cup.

"We have shown that we are progressing and the important thing for us now is that we get ourselves back into Europe next season by challenging for fourth or fifth spot because they are the only places left for us," conceded Moyes.

"It has come down to missed opportunities during the 90 minutes but it was some effort by my players and I think it's fair to say that we battered Fiorentina.

"But we don't feel sorry for ourselves and we cannot allow that to happen because we are playing really well in the Premier League and there are still nine games left for us to play and go for Europe again."


see also
PSV 0-1 Tottenham (1-1)
12 Mar 08 |  Europe
Everton 2-0 Fiorentina (2-2)
12 Mar 08 |  Europe
Weds football as it happened
12 Mar 08 |  Football


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