Paul: Gary Was Great

Paul Goddard is full of praise for Gary Breen's contribution to the win at West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.

A brief appearance as substitute it may have been, but Paul is not underestimating the importance of his 10 minute involvement.

"It was needed," says Paul, "and I think Gary did exceptionally well. He had a dreadful game at Old Trafford recently but since then has worked tirelessly on the training field to get his game back in order, and he won three or four vital headers on Sunday for us.

"The way they were playing then is very hard to play against, with three or four men stretched out, big men, and balls coming in with them looking for flick-ons all the time."

His appearance on the field may not have been met with universal acclaim by the away fans, but Paul says: "The fans voiced their opinion, which is their right, but Gary is trying 100% to improve his game and wants to play his part.

"It was one of those nerve-wracking games with a lot at stake and chances left, right, and centre at both ends - the nerves were tangled right to the end.

"West Brom will have been very disappointed because they missed three or four very good chances - they did have opportunities.

"They are very good at set pieces and return balls from set pieces; they are dangerous at that, and Dichio rose above everyone to nod it in for their goal.

"But the lads stood up to be counted though there was certainly a very poor period in the second half; fortunately David made three exceptional saves in that period."

As for the substitution of Paolo Di Canio, Paul explains: "Just before half time he went for a ball and pulled up trying to run for it.

"At half time we said to him 'are you okay?' and he said 'yes, I think it cramped up on me' and he had a massage.

"Glenn said 'we will see how you go in the second half', the manager looked at it at the start of the second half and I don't think he felt he was moving properly - so a decision was made."

The main thing now, feels Paul, is for everyone to be pulling in the same direction for the final games of the season.

"I think it has been a collective thing since the Leeds game; training has been very intense and there was a big strong focus in the changing room before the West Brom game about how important it was - we have to maintain that for every game.

"I think Tottenham is a good game to have at this period now; we are up for it and we hope we can carry on.

"Unfortunately after the first home win of the season over Blackburn we followed up with a poor performance against Liverpool, but hopefully Tottenham will be a different story.

"Everyone knows the importance of the games coming up."

As for the return of Joe Cole after suspension, Paul adds: "It is a nice problem, someone will be disappointed, but we have all got to be in this together."