Spurs can’t let Modric become like Berbatov, warns Brighton boss Poyet

Former Tottenham midfielder says club need to keep star midfielder

Gus Poyet is warning that Tottenham cannot allow Luka Modric to ‘become like Dimitar Berbatov’, whose deadline day exit ‘killed the season’ in 2008/09.

Having won the Carling Cup under Juande Ramos and assistant manager Poyet in February 2008, the Lilywhites were expected to push for a top four place the following season.

However, Berbatov spent the summer angling for a move to Manchester United and, having effectively gone on strike to force the transfer through, finally got his way in the final hours of the window.

Having taken two points from their first eight Premier League games, Ramos and Poyet were soon following the Bulgarian out of White Hart Lane, as Levy called for Harry Redknapp.


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And, three years on, Brighton boss Poyet admits that he is watching the Modric saga with interest.

“Harry has a lot of quality in his squad and he has lots of great individual players and they make it very difficult for other teams,” he said.

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“Spurs have tons of quality in every department of the pitch and over the next three or four years, it will be the manager and the chairman’s aim to keep hold of the quality players they have at the club.

“I hope, and this is with full respect to Tottenham Hotspur, that Modric doesn’t become like Dimitar Berbatov.

“Unfortunately, when Berbatov left White Hart Lane, he killed the season for Spurs. I hope Modric is not another Berbatov.”

Poyet, who made 98 appearances and scored 23 goals as a Spurs player between 2001 and 2004, came face to face with his former club last weekend when the Lilywhites overcame his Brighton outfit 3-2 at the Seagulls’ new AMEX Stadium.

And the 43-year-old believes that the pressure on Spurs has increased since his time in north London.

“The problem Tottenham have is that they have given the fans a taste of Champions League football once,” he said. “That is what Spurs fans will want – to be amongst Europe’s elite and that is the Champions League. The rest is not good enough.

“You cannot give a kid a sweet and then not give them any more - every now and again you have to give it to them.

“The players at Tottenham are Premier League players and the club has the foundation, the fan base, and there is a lot of talk about a new 60,000-seater stadium because they know they are going to fill it. In order to do that you need to be finishing in the top four or five every season.”

Meanwhile, former Uruguay international Poyet admits that he was impressed by some of the younger Spurs players who were on show in the recent friendly on the south coast.

“There were a few youngsters in the Tottenham line-up that we would have liked to bring down here on loan at Brighton for the season,” he said.

“Unfortunately, due to the Football League’s new rules, we are only allowed five substitutes on the bench.

“That killed every option for us in terms of bringing players on loan from clubs like Spurs, who have some wonderful young talent like Jake Livermore.

“We therefore have had to go with more experience. Having too many young players in the squad, they don’t really win leagues or championships.

“In order to win football games you need to be careful not to have too much of a young squad.”

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