The keeper coach has seen it all before
Keeper coach Tony Caig spoke to us about the Spurs game on Wednesday night and about his own experiences when coming up against one of the biggest clubs in the country.
He said: “As soon as the dust settles from the win at Coventry at the weekend you definitely start to focus on the game on Wednesday.
“It’s a different type of game to what the players are used to because not only are they coming up against some of the best players in the country but there is also less in the way of pressure. That could work in our favour on the night.
“Coaching wise we do it in the same way. We try to make sure the players are relaxed and feeling confident about themselves so they can take that into the match with them. It also makes a difference when you come into work and you see queues at the ticket office windows because you then know it’s definitely going to be a decent crowd. It’s a good one which the players and fans should really enjoy.”
“I think you have to be realistic and know that if they play all of their top players, and they all play to their best, then they should win,” he continued.
“However, you see it all the time, and especially in the League Cup, that it doesn’t always go that way. Whichever team they put out the one thing we can guarantee is that they’re going to be strong. All we can do is make sure that we don’t change the way we play, stay tight and take it from there.”
And looking back to the late 90’s when United faced Spurs in a League Cup double-header, he said: “It was probably even better back then because we knew we were going to play them home and away.
“We did quite well to be fair to us. We were one down after about 30 seconds at their place and I remember picking the ball out of the back of the net and thinking, right, here we go. This could be bad. We managed to pull it round and we actually went into half time at 2-1 up. Warren Aspinall and Andy Couzens got the goals and suddenly we were buzzing.
“Sumo’s goal was an excellent one because he picked it up on the half way line, beat a couple of players and drilled it into the bottom corner. Tottenham were different class after the break and they beat us 3-2 but I think that was the night that some of our younger players started to believe in themselves.
“That obviously meant we were only a goal down going into the home game but they played their full team in both games. As it was we lost 2-0, but we were in it for a long period of time. Everyone talks about the penalty incident with David Ginola but I can’t really remember it. Richard Prokas had been given a man-to-man role to look after him and Ginola was getting quite frustrated about it.
“He went over in the box and he placed the ball as if he was going to take it with his left foot. At some point he changed his mind and stepped across so he could take it with his right. That showed the ability he had.”
“Games like this are what it’s all about,” he said. “You want to play against the teams you read about because it is a fantastic experience. You just have to enjoy it and try to make a name for yourself by playing as well as you can.
“I’ll be telling my keepers that it’s no different to what they do in every other game. They still have to come for crosses, make decisions and concentrate and they should make sure they are involved as much as they can be. Hopefully they’ll be coming off the pitch with a good performance under their belt.”
United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Tony Caig later today. For more information on United Player, and to subscribe, click HERE.