Curses. Two steps forward and one step back is a painfully slow way of progressing, but it appears to be the route of choice for Harry’s Hotspurs. (Incidentally, the name “Tottenham Hotspur” was, partially, derived from the character “Harry Hotspur” in Henry V.)
With the Premiership table so tightly packed, a string of wins would have had us perched on the the ledge of the European places. Instead, two defeats in three leave us level on points with the relegation zone wretches. The game was not televised, but the frustratingly amateurish BBC London radio commentators generally gave the impression that, aside from our desperate final 15 minute barrage, we were pretty insipid. This bothers me somewhat.
Even allowing for a wide margin of error, given that I’ve only seen one of ‘Arry’s games at the stadium, and most of the rest only on TV, it seems to me that we’ve rarely played particularly well or looked particularly comfortable during our revival. Draw vs l’arse – dead lucky. Win vs Liverpool (league) – dead lucky. Win vs Man City – generous amount of luck. Win vs Blackburn – uninspiring . Add to those the insipid defeats vs Fulham and Everton, and the so-called “revival” begins to look a tad misleading. Now the media in particular seem happy to indulge in a Harry Redknapp love-in, and we’ve definitely improved since the Ramos era. However – whisper it – I’m not convinced that we’ve been playing particularly well, despite some good results. The only impressive performances were 4-0 vs a poor Dinamo Kiev and the Carling Cup win vs Liverpool’s reserves.
Losing while having played well is undoubtedly galling, but it at least gives hope of better things to come. We, by contrast, seem to have been picking up wins without playing particularly well, and therefore perhaps papering over cracks. Results have been good under the new boss, but performances have only sporadically sparkled. I still don’t doubt we’ll avoid relegation with ease, but with the tightness of the league table allowing us to force our way back into European reckoning on the back of a few consecutive wins, we ought to be aiming higher. If Harry really is the right man for us he’ll have us playing an attractive, effective brand of football fairly sharpish – if he does this results will take care of themselves. As yet there has been the odd sign of this, but we’ve more often been sloppy. Performances need to improve in order to push up the table, as we won’t win luckily every week.
The absences of Jenas and Modric, our supposed creative sparks in central midfield, haven’t really helped the cause, but there remain enough flair players in the squad for us to cope with this. In the first half hour vs Blackburn our attacking quartet of Lennon, Bentley, Pav and Bent looked particularly impressive – but 30 slick minutes in three games isn’t good enough. With West Ham away and Man Utd at home next in the league, it’s time for Harry to prove his worth as manager and turn up the performances a couple of notches.
An abridged version of this badboy can also be found on the letters page of football365.com: