The secret dossier that made Spurs winners

Last updated at 14:16 24 January 2008

The chances of

Tottenham eating a

dodgy lasagne and

coming down with

food poisoning the

night before a big game are a

thing of the past.

When Spurs check in to their

hotel before Sunday's FA Cup tie

with Manchester United, they

will be armed with a 60-page

dossier of 'dos and don'ts' that

they must adhere to.

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It is all part of the Juande

Ramos revolution that has helped

turn the club from underachievers

under Martin Jol to Carling

Cup finalists, as well as dreaming

of securing a surprise win at Old Trafford.

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darren bent spurs

A change in diet and fitness

has been key to the turnaround,

but the hard work is not just

confined to the training ground

as the meticulous Ramos also

makes sure hotel staff have their

fair share of instructions, too.

The dossier contains details

of what the players are allowed

to eat and drink, with no compromises.

Fitness coach

Marcos Alvarez has taken most

of the credit for their improved

condition but, it should be noted,

he has been working alongside

dietician Antonio Escribano.

The Spaniards were stunned to

see food more associated with a

wedding reception in the

players' canteen on their

arrival in October, but the

fatty foods and cakes

have gone.

Now Escribano

travels each week to

Spurs' training

ground and lays

down the menus for

the following seven

days, plus delivering

the massive dossier

of instructions for when the

squad are on the road.

There are meals to help

prepare for games, meals to

help recuperation, strict

instructions for how long spaghetti should be boiled, 20

types of rich sauce which are

banned and 12 key ingredients

which are rotated in the salads

that have become staple in the

players' nourishment.

Escribano said: “Before

Juande's arrival the guys ate

just like ordinary people at a

restaurant would eat, not like


“But the Spurs players

have not been moaning,

they've really got into

the change because

they understand it

makes good logic

and they can see

the results.”

There were

reports striker

Darren Bent had

been paying the

price for going

against the strict

diet by having a ham

and cheese sandwich

sent to his room on one

away trip.

But the Spurs fans have certainly seen the results, with

the team performing better as

Tuesday night's demolition of

Arsenal proved as well as a

new slender physique for midfielder

Tom Huddlestone.

Ramos believes the whole club

are unrecognisable from the one

he took over and said: “The

change has been enormous in

the short time the players and

my staff have been together.

“I arrived to a sinking,

depressed bunch of lads and

you could see from how often

their leads were overhauled that

they didn't believe in themselves

any more. But we are talking

about a total transformation.

“Against Arsenal we scored

five and could easily have scored

many more. It was one of those

games where every detail you

draw on the blackboard in the

team talks came off.

“But the key thing you could

see is the players now believe in

themselves — we've won back

our pride and our aggression.”