Updated: May 10
Three defeats on the bounce and suddenly the club sitting third in the league is in crisis. The factions are emerging, some are even whispering ‘Redknapp Out’. A month ago we were the best team since the Double side and the manager was a genius. Now we’re useless and the manager’s “tactically clueless”. Some people need to get a grip.
The defeat against Arsenal was a bad one. The manager got his formation wrong, the players didn’t turn up, and the club lost a chance to ram home a change in the balance of power. Against Manchester United, injuries didn’t help but the shape and personnel chosen didn’t link the midfield and the front men sufficiently. That said, we didn’t play that badly. We just didn’t play that well either. The usual contentious refereeing decision that would of course had been given the other way didn’t help, but in the end a below par Man U took their chances and a below par Spurs didn’t. And against Everton, Spurs made up for a below par first held with some tactical changes and application that deserved to secure a draw.
Every team wobbles, and Spurs are having their wobble now. What matters is how we deal with it. Everyone getting on everyone’s backs is not going to help. Our manager has always attracted strong emotions, but I still believe most Spurs fans are right behind him. Unfortunately, the vociferous Harry lobby in the press is hugely oversensitive on his behalf, so the slightest questioning of any decision is inflated into another lazy ‘fickle Spurs fans turn on manager’ story.
There are some legitimate questions to be asked about some of the recent decisions to play players out of position, and about the dreadful howler in choosing the formation for the Emirates game. Asking them doesn’t equate to arguing the manager should be sacked. Harry also didn’t help himself with his petulant reaction to a perfectly legitimate question post match which was shown on MOTD, especially as he always seems more than happy to take any plaudits going, but we’ve all had one of those days at the office when a fair question has got under our skin.
I know there have been some calls for Harry to go in the webzines. Football is, as the cliche goes, all about opinions, but I have to disagree with those calls. Harry’s done enough over the past few years to make me trust he’ll get it right. The sacking calls seem to me as daft as those Arsenal fans who were calling for Wenger’s head just a few weeks ago. They’ve gone library quiet now.
And I don’t buy the story that linking Harry with the England job has made the players lose focus. They are paid enough as professionals to be able to do the job required, and ‘not knowing what’s happening with the manager’ has always struck me as a bit of an excuse. The players need to ask themselves some questions. Is Bale coming inside so much because he’s been told to, or because he thinks he should? Why is Modric relatively quiet? Is Adebayor really as good as all that? That’s not to knock any of those players – rather to say that now is the time when truly great players step up and deliver.
It may suit the agenda of a sports press obsessed with stirring controversy – more of which on this blog later – to say so, but Spurs are far from a crisis club. If you doubt that, I can put you in touch with a mate of mine who supports Leyton Orient – he’s really not happy. So let’s calm down and not make any hasty judgements.
We have the same manager who got us into the Champions League for the first time, who took us on a great run and masterminded the defeat of AC Milan, who has got us playing some of the best football we’ve seen for years. We are in third place and the last eight of the FA Cup. The prizes are there to be won. We play with width, we control the middle, we pass and move. We are Tottenham.