Ex-Spurs man reveals he was ‘so mad’ to be substituted in 2008 League Cup Final

Pascal Chimbonda has now told the Athletic that he was left ‘so mad’ when Juande Ramos chose to take him off the pitch against Chelsea in the 2008 League Cup Final.

Of course, the Frenchman was a core part of the last Spurs squad to win a major trophy over a decade ago.

Chimbonda started at left-back on the night as January signing Alan Hutton slotted in at right-back. However, Pascal has revealed that he had to prove his fitness to Ramos by running around the hotel corridor the day of the final.

He said: “I didn’t expect to play that game because the day before my knee was so swollen. The manager [Juande Ramos] told me I wouldn’t play the game.

“But when I woke up at the hotel on the day of the final, the knee was fine and the swelling had gone down. I knocked on his door in the morning and said, ‘I’m ready, I can play the game’.

“So he told me to do a sprint in the corridor. So I sprinted in the corridor, and I felt nothing.”

Chimbonda was replaced by Tom Huddlestone in the second half as Ramos changed the system by putting an extra body in midfield.

The Frenchman admitted that he was quite angry at being taken off but that all was forgotten when Jonathan Woodgate headed home the winner in extra time.

Chimbonda said: “I was so mad (to be substituted). I didn’t want to leave my team-mates, I wanted to fight with them. [Jermaine] Jenas pushed me in the back! I went straight to the changing room, then when we made it 1-1, I came back to the pitch.

“Then the second goal was like an explosion, we all ran on the pitch, we went crazy. It was love.”

Chimbonda was also one of the Spurs stars who saw his penalty saved by Heurelho Gomes as the club were knocked out on penalties by PSV in the UEFA Cup round of sixteen just a month after their League Cup win.

The right-back revealed that it was Steed Malbranque who was initially supposed to take the spot-kick but he stepped up as the midfielder refused to do so.

The former Spurs defender added: “I was one of the last ones but it should have been [Steed] Malbranque because I am not a penalty taker. He said, ‘No I don’t go’, and Paul Robinson as well had a good shot so he said, ‘Paul you go’. Paul said no, so I said, ‘OK, I go.’

“It was meant to be Malbranque then Robinson, but I got the balls so I just went. And wow, seeing Gomes inside the goal — he’s tall, and looked massive.

“I was so sad when I missed, I covered my head with my shirt. I don’t cry, I keep everything inside, but that was tough. And in the changing room, everyone had their head down, no one said anything. Next day they killed me in the papers and I thought it should be Malbranque, not me!”

Spurs Web Opinion

While beating Arsenal and Chelsea on our way to the League Cup win in 2008 was pretty special, I still don’t know how we managed to get knocked out by PSV in the UEFA Cup game. After losing the first leg, we put in an outstanding performance away at PSV but unfortunately, Gomes was in inspired form that night, not just during the shootout but also during the ninety minutes and extra time.

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