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  Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 20:55 GMT
Smith inspired by heart-to-heart
Alan Smith
Smith scored the senior first hat-trick of his career
Leeds striker Alan Smith has revealed that talks with chairman Peter Ridsdale provided the impetus for his four-goal display against Hapoel Tel-Aviv.

Smith had been hurt by comments from several Hapoel players in the build-up to the return leg of his side's Uefa Cup second-round clash in Florence.


This is up there with some great memories for me
Alan Smith

In the wake of United's 1-0 first leg victory at Elland Road a fortnight ago, the 22-year-old was described as one of the dirtiest players in European football.

And that prompted the England player to seek out Ridsdale to ensure he had the backing of the club.

"I knew their players had been having a go at me, I went and saw the chairman because if something did happen then I wanted to know I would have their full backing," said Smith.

"Everybody came out of it pleased. It put my mind at ease. I knew I had to keep a cool head and I did that - I responded in the right way."

Smith added that guiding his side into the third round of the Uefa Cup was one of the highlights of his career so far.

Alan Smith
Smith was heavily criticised by the opposition
"This is up there with some great memories for me," he said.

"It's the first senior hat-trick of my career and it's something I will always remember.

"It's a good night to get it, but the main thing is we've got a victory and we are in the next round. That's what we came to do."

And he also credited manager Terry Venables for his stunning performance in Italy.

"I enjoyed it. Since the gaffer has come in he has told me to go out and enjoy my football - and tonight I did that," said Smith.

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 ON THIS STORY
Leeds' Alan Smith
"I don't know how the second goal went in"
Leeds boss Terry Venables
"We were very positive"

Second round, 2nd leg

Second round, 1st leg

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