Port Vale: Pejic helped make Vale players fit for purpose ahead of cup shock
PORT Vale's memorable win over Tottenham was a triumph for the endless hours of hard work put in on the training ground by first-team coach Mike Pejic.
The former Stoke City and England defender had only been promoted from his job as youth-team coach at the turn of the year, so hadn't had long to work with a side who were short of confidence and results.
He said: "I'd accepted the job, but we lost our next two games, away to Rotherham and then at home to Chesterfield in the league.
"I only had another week to work with the players before the game against Macclesfield in the FA Cup.
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"However, I was fortunate because I had already been at Vale for 18 months and so knew some of the players having worked with them in the reserve team.
"In fact, when I moved up to coach the first team I was still doing the youth team, the reserves, the goalkeeping coaching and also the centre of excellence along with Neil Baker (now assistant boss at Crewe) and Richard O'Kelly (now coach at Bristol City).
"It was a seven-day-a-week job, so it's fair to say I was heavily involved.
"I also introduced a fitness programme and worked really hard with the first team on dividing them into units and concentrating on their jobs in each third of the pitch.
"There were a few argie-bargies at first, but they accepted what I was doing and all worked really hard at it.
"The plan against Spurs was for Terry Venables' team to have to pass it through our very compact midfield.
"Spurs didn't play the ball long very often, so we knew they would want to pass through us.
"We conserved our energy while they used up theirs with passes that got them nowhere.
"Spurs had a lot of good players, but a lot of players who wanted to get on the ball and perhaps not so many who wanted to defend.
"Our players did absolutely brilliantly, carrying out their jobs to the smallest detail."