I avoid pre-match homework on penalty takers, says Spurs keeper

HEURELHO Gomes has revealed that he prefers not to research possible penalty takers – because it impairs his ability to react instinctively when the moment comes.

The Brazilian has a reputation for saving from the spot, having helped PSV Eindhoven to eliminate Spurs on penalties in the 2008 Uefa Cup, and saved three efforts from ex-Tottenham striker Darren Bent in two meetings with Sunderland last season.

Gomes was at it again on Sunday, blocking Didier Drogba’s injury-time kick, and the 29-year-old says that he prefers to try to read his opponent’s intentions, rather than researching their previous attempts during his pre-match preparation.

“I think this is the first one I’ve saved this season but I saved some last season – three times from Darren Bent!” said Gomes.

“Do I watch DVDs of possible penalty takers? Sometimes, but no not really. I don’t like to watch the penalty kicks because sometimes it stays in your head – you might think ‘it’s coming to the right, it’s coming to the right’. I try to wait as long as I can and then go the right way.

“Normally Frank Lampard takes them for Chelsea but I don’t know how they decide. Lampard is just coming back from injury, maybe Didier was confident to take it. He scored the first goal and maybe he was very confident to take the penalty as well.”

Of course, Gomes’ penalty save is only half of the story of an eventful game for the Tottenham keeper.

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After all, it was he who conceded the spot-kick in the first place with a clumsy foul on Ramires – and that followed his curious inability to block Drogba’s equaliser.

“I’m still wondering how the ball came over me – it looked like a great save,” said Gomes ruefully. “It came fast and I just tried to put the ball back, but it just span over me. I don’t know how it happened. That’s football but in the end I could help a little bit with the penalty save.

“This can happen. It’s a difficult moment but I don’t think it was really a mistake. Maybe I could have done better but it’s difficult to say how the ball went over me.

“I think it was the right result. We played better in the first half, they played better in the second. We need to push a bit more. Sometimes when we score first we drop a little bit. We need to squeeze a little bit more and still press the opposition. That’s why we somtimes drop points like on Sunday.”