defender Mauricio Taricco has been talking exclusively to Jonas Ahrell
of Sportal - a new sports internet company. He has allowed us to
use this interview in which the player explains about his career so far,
English football and what he thinks of the club at the present ....
The younger generation of
Tottenham Hotspur supporter may not remember the days when Spursī
Argentinian duo, Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricky Villa, wooed the White Hart
Who can forget Villa taking on
the entire Manchester
City defence in an historic FA Cup Final victory in 1981?
But what they will remember
from this season is the ever present, ever consistent and ever reliable
figure of former Argentina
Under-21 international Mauricio Taricco.
Aires-born left-back, signed from Ipswich
Town for £1.75 million just over a year ago, has won over many sceptics
who were unsure that the 27-year-old could bridge the gap between First
Division and the Premiership.
A string of assured
performances, along with great control, touch and distribution, has
shown him to be a shrewd purchase by Spurs boss George Graham, who knows
a thing or two about defenders.
Articulate, impeccably mannered
and an all-round lovely bloke, Tano
(itís his nickname Ė it means an Italian in his native Argentina)
spoke exclusively to Sportal about life, a frustrating second term with
Spurs but assures us that the season is far from over.
Sportal: When you were
living in Argentina
you were playing top-flight football with Argentinos Juniors. What made
you leave your home and come to England?
Taricco: I wanted to
play in Europe.
Although I was playing in the top division in Argentina
I thought at the time it was a good decision to come and play in England
and try a new language and new culture. I wanted to try a new way of
life as well because at that time I was single and after the decision to
move I got married. So it was a big, big change in my life and it worked
Sportal: You then became
a firm favourite with Ipswich
Town and enjoyed four good seasons. Was it a hard decision to leave Ipswich?
Taricco: Spurs are a big
club and with the big Argentinean names who have played at Spurs I had
to take the opportunity to join and play in the Premiership. Having said
that I was very comfortable at Ipswich
and I had a good relationship with the fans and with the club, but it
was the First Division. Every player would take the chance to play in
the Premiership and play with a club like Spurs. It was a big step, but
I was willing to do it.
Sportal: Does that mean
you saw your time at Ipswich
merely as a stepping stone into the top flight?
Taricco: I did not see
it that way. I had a great time at Ipswich
and I felt very much at home there. Maybe not in the first year but all
the people were so good to me.
Sportal: You are now
part of a club who, along with the likes of Aston Villa, Newcastle
and West Ham, are aiming for a European place. Is it frustrating that
Spurs havenít managed to breakthrough to that level?
Taricco: It is
frustrating for the whole club, frustrating because we are not getting
the results we want. I mean it is a difficult time for the club. From
now on we have another eight games to go and we know we have to start
taking three points if we want to be in the top six. We are really
concentrating and focused on what we need to do. But you know sometimes
something happens, mistakes happen, and at the end of the day that can
be very disappointing. Now we have to try and forget what has happened
up until now and try and get a run together. We know we can do it
because everyone is dropping points, so the main thing is to try and get
some consistency going.
Sportal: Can you do that
with the set up you have at the moment?
Taricco: Yes. There is
no question that the club is going to bring in some new players next
year and the manager just made that clear. That will be good because
nowadays, big clubs need big squads.
Sportal: Is that the
answer, to bring in new players, or is there more to it?
Taricco: I think these
days, with the amount of games we have to play, you need a bigger squad.
The last few days for example we have been training with only about
seven or eight first-team players, with the others out with knocks,
soreness and tiredness. With the pace of the game nowadays, clubs like
Spurs need more players.
Sportal: But Tottenham
have had trouble of late attracting some of the bigger names. Why is
Taricco: I couldnít
really tell you. When I had the chance I thought ĎSpurs, Iím
goingí. Itís probably because in the last six or seven years
Tottenham havenít done as well as everyone expected. But that has to
turn around because with the support Spurs have and their size Iím
sure players will start coming.
Sportal: As you say
Spurs have failed of late to live up to expectations. How has that
effected dressing-room morale?
Taricco: It makes it
uncertain I suppose because as I said to you weíre still OK but of
course you need results to make you feel better and better. We got a
great result against Southampton
then we go to Arsenal and get beaten. Itís like you go one step
forward and then, I wouldnít say we take one step back, but we stop
and that makes it a bit uncertain. I mean all the players, weíre all
professional and I never talk about luck, but may be we need a little
bit of luck and then confidence will grow even though we are confident
that we can win any game. But then for one reason or another, itís
just not happening, and that makes it a little bit frustrating.
Sportal: What about you
personally, do you think that you have improved as a player under the
tutelage of George Graham, a manager renowned for his defensive
Taricco: Honestly, I
think I played a bit better at Ipswich
than I have done at Spurs. Itís not just the goals I scored there but
itís a different team and there are different players around. I was
also at Ipswich
for a lot longer. It is very difficult to point out exactly why,
thatís my opinion anyway, but sometimes I feel itís just not
clicking in the same way when I was at Ipswich.
Sportal: A lot of
foreign players have complained recently about abuse levelled at them
because of their nationality. Have you ever had any stick from fans or
players for being Argentinean?
Taricco: Not really.
Maybe when you are playing and you do something that is more in line
with the Argentinean style of play, than the English style, then they
tell you. But itís normal, I mean youíre a foreigner, youíre
abroad and sometimes people let you know that. But I donít take it
badly. These things happen when youíre on the pitch and every one is
worked up. But when the game is finished Iím treated just like
everybody else. It happens and itís football. Sometimes people shout
at you and it happens because people are excited on the pitch. As long
as it is forgotten after the game, which it mostly is.
Sportal: Some foreign
players have claimed that playing in the Premiership hinders their
chances of making the national team. Do you think playing in England
has hampered your chances of winning a place in the Argentine side?
Taricco: To be honest,
if I was playing in a club as big as Tottenham, in Italy,
or even Spain,
I suppose my chances would be higher. Iím 27 years old and Iíve
played most of my career in England
and I like it here. That doesnít mean I donít like Italy
and their style of play, but I like it here as well. Most Argentineans
are wrong with their perception of the English top flight. Their ideas
havenít changed over the last 20 years but the English League has. You
can see how far English teams have come in the European results this
year. That tells you something.
Sportal: What did you
think of the England
were very poor and very disappointing but I thought England
did well. I mean with the names Argentina
have, with the players they have, they were average. I know they are
quality players all of them and there are some good players
individually. But they just werenít doing it and not even running
enough. They have got quality and they can appear for five minutes and
score two goals. But on the day they hardly created anything and for Argentina
thatís not good enough.
Thanks again to Jonas and to
Sportal for the use of this interview. You can check out their
sports site at www.sportal.net