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Shakhtar 2- 0 Spurs: Mission Accomplished

So mission all but accomplished then ‘Arry? Elimination from Europe virtually guaranteed, and mercifully we can look forward to far fewer of those pesky football matches that just seem to get in the way of the manager’s true raison d’être (trying out his latest gags on the sycophants at press conferences), and the players’ weekly trips to Faces. 

Last night’s was not the worst performance I’ve ever seen – until the last 11 minutes it appeared that we would, unbelievably, return to the Lane as favourites to progress (‘Arry would have loved that – “More f*ckin’ games? I don’t f*ckin’ believe this…”). Neither, however, was it the sort of inspirational stuff that instils in a man the urge to beat a tiger to death with his bare hands and make love to fifty beautiful women before singing God Save The Queen and tucking into his fish and chips. No-one attacked that cross like their life depended upon it. In fact no-one went near that cross in any fashion whatsoever, and one-nil it was. The defence plumbed to new lows for the second, and while it had me turning green and bursting out of my clothes, the whole sorry incident seemed to encapsulate precisely the attitude of indifference being peddled all week by ‘Arry.

Somehow, the mentality has become one which accepts and commits to defeat in certain games, before they’ve even begun. ‘Arry has been banging this drum all week, and last night it was visible in the players on the pitch. Have these people no shame? Have they no pride, in themselves or the club? Irrespective of the competition, it’s a football match, a professional football match. It begins at nil-nil and the point, once upon a time, was to win it. We may and probably will stay in the Premiership, but its beginning to feel like we’re selling our souls to do so. We ought not to be resorting to this. What sort of professional sportsman decides, in advance, to settle for losing a contest? If this football business is too taxing for you then sod off to a golf course or bingo hall or something, but don’t destroy our club’s reputation and tradition.

Deep breath.’Arry’s chosen solution to the problem (I use the term loosely) of footballers having to playing football matches is to lose the knock-out ones. An absolutely ridiculous and wildly irrational alternative would be for Spurs to try winning such games – because, let’s face it, no-one complains about fixture lists when they’re successful.

A couple of years ago we reached the latter stages of the Uefa, semis of the Carling and finished fifth in the league – and by golly you’d have heard a mouse sneeze in the middle of a stadium-wide chorus of “I love Martin Jol” (blessed be his name) before you’d have heard anyone grumbling about the number of games we had to play. The explanation for this, bizarre though it is, seems to be that baffling, science-defying instrument that is The Psyche of the Common Sportsman. This is constructed such that more games just aren’t a problem when they are being won (see Man Utd for real-time illustration of this point).

For Spurs to implement this would admittedly require some degree of responsibility on the part of the management and players – undertakings such as non-stop graft on the training pitch, fitness work, repeated drills on set-pieces, shooting practice, tactical instructions… ah maybe ‘Arry’s right – it’s far easier just to lose games.

The counter-argument is that it is better for us to lose in the Uefa, minimise the risk of injuries from excessive games and preserve our Premiership status. I appreciate the point, but I don’t see the issue as so black and white. There is a straightforward middle ground – of doing our damnedest to win the Uefa games anyway, and still preserving our Premiership status. Willing participation in the Uefa need not necessarily mean that we’re automatically doomed to relegation from the Premiership. Another imbecilic notion this, but I reckon it might just be possible to try winning games in both the Uefa and the Premiership, without stretching the poor lambs to the point of mental exhaustion and physical breaking-point.

Players will pick up injuries, without doubt. However, our squad contains enough players who ought to be comfortable taking to the field as required. To spell it out, here’s one full team:

Cudicini; Hutton, Ledley, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Palacios, Modric, Bentley; Defoe, Keane.
Here’s another full team:
Gomes; Bale, Dawson, Chimbonda, Corluka, Three-Touch O’ Hara, Hudd, Zokora, Jenas; Pav, Bent.
(And just for a laugh here’s some more player names: Gunter, Campbell, Taraabt, Dos Santos, Ricky blinking Rocha.)
The squad is big enough, ugly enough and damn well expensive enough to cope. Good enough? On paper, yes. On grass – well, we’re one point off the relegation zone…

Shakhtar were ok, but they were hardly footballing gods either. They were beatable. They will be beatable in a week’s time. However, such is ‘Arry’s commitment to defeat that he’s already promising to drag youngsters from the Academy (and probably the Paxton Road) onto the pitch for their debuts. I think we can kiss goodbye to the chances of overturning a two-goal deficit.

 

7 Responses

  1. leonardo Says:

    Absolutely spot on – I think we also were in the FA Cup quarter final that year and I remember us playing away one Thursday night in Europe then at Stamford Bridge on the Saturday lunchtime. Perhaps Harry remembers that BMJ got the sack early the next season so he wont make the same mistake (being successful) or burden us with too high expectations (ie thinking that spending £30 million in January means we should be a competitive side).

  2. jay jaghy Says:

    Exactly, i think what harry has done is an absolute disgrace. From the moment he arrived, avoid relegation, avoid relegation. After the feel good honeymoon period what has he done, all he does is moan on about the league. Maybe harry if you started believing in your players and going out with the mentality of winning games, rather than continously being so defensive minded we might actually start winning some games and increasing confidence and belief.

    A terrible terrible attitude, the players look up to him and he keeps telling everyone that this bunch may not even be good enough to aviod the drop, what a joke. Yeah yeah your saying he inherited a bad bunch, i dont believe that and even if he did, it is in his job description to MANAGE, and make do with what he has, and there are some talenetd players there. I see no bright future with harry, the days when we lose european games before the match has even started is sick. Morale and confidence contuniues to drop and drop.

    After the probabl defeat at united, harry will be “we played triffic, but they are the european champions, but im proud of the boys, they tried they battled” this is bull.

    So we avoid relegation out of europe without even trying, lose carling to Man utd and get 15th. Triffic job Harry, we going for 8th next season.

  3. alan granville Says:

    We need a manager who loves the “Tottenham Way” remembering the giants who have worn the shirt-Blanchflower,Mackay,Greaves,Gilzean, and even further back Ted Ditchburn,Ronnie Burgess, Eddie Baily. To turn up expecting to lose is despicable, surely it would be more honest just to withdraw from all cup competitions, then Redknapp can have his way and concentrate on “survival” that weasel word. To borrow from the unmatchable Danny Blanchflower ” Football is about glory,winning in style”,
    that is the “Tottenham Way” Redknapp.

  4. GOONER_ALI Says:

    lol@ pretty much the whole article. Boyhood Arsenal fan (said his dad used to take him along) is too defensive. Oh rly? Having to hope not to drop, and target 8th for next season. It’s lol@ 125yrs of not alot really. We’ve been peeing on yer shoes n telling u it’s raining since 1913. tra la la. You’re big enough, rich enough and yet still can’t achieve titles. Hilarious!

  5. JohnnyB Says:

    Well done, you managed to pick 2 lots of 11. Harry did the same, one of those lots of 11 played last night…and lost. What’s your point? You say pick 11 players and send them out to win…what do you think Harry did last night? He sure as hell didn’t send them out to lose! The guys that started yesterday were sent out to win…they failed. What is your argument? Is it the team selection? No, because as you said “here’s 11 players” doesn’t matter who. The only reason you think we sent a team out to lose is the team sheet…in which case it IS down to who got picked and as you point out we saved our better players to minimise the risk of injury so what did you want? A winning team that doesn’t include our better players? That’s what we tried…but they didn’t win….FFS

  6. spurs.dk Says:

    OMG. I can’t believe the nonsense a lot of you are spouting….jay jaghy what was our league position and what were the bookies odds of us being relegated when harry took over? Can you rememeber a premiership season where the point spread was so small?!? Bottom line is: WE ARE FIGHTING TO AVOID RELEGATION!!!! You would call being tactical and resting your strongest players for the games that secure the future of the club in the preimiership disgraceful? No my friend, what would be a disgrace is if we ended up like Leeds… Or would you rather we did everything to win the UEFA cup so we could show it off to our new friends in the championship…. There is a reason Harry is the Manager and you are a ‘fan’.

    Many top clubs field weaker, reserve or new players (including their up and coming academy players) in competitions that have a reduced priority in relation to the clubs goals. Personally I’m ecstatic that the academy players are getting this opportunity. We have a massive amount of academy talent and the chance to give them first team football on as massive a stage as Europe (even if it isn’t our biggest priority) is awesome for them. In fact, why not field the senior academy side…They are destroying teams at their level, they would get some amazing experience, and you can bet big that they’d being playing for a win :o)

    I think it’s disgraceful is the number of people that call themselves spurs fans that piss and moan about everything: the squad, the training staff, the management staff. If you are that disgruntled, follow another team, because lets face it, if there is nothing positive to say, you really must be a pathetic knob jockey to call yourself a spurs fan.

  7. jay jaghy Says:

    stop talking about the past when harry took over, it didnt matter who took over, the team was always gonna produce in the honeymoon period regardless of who took over. But what has harry done since?????????? then apart from piss and moan, ahh when i got here we had x points time and time again, ok so build from here, stop talking about b4 you arrived we got a string of results together then whatl. Harry reminding everyone that we are in a dog fight, the truth is if he had more belief in the players and the team we would be mid table aready, look at the league, and the matches we lost because of our negative tactics, think about it.

    Move on, be positive, breed confidence, harry has done none of these, comparing bents miss publicly the way he did was a disgrace. Im not a huge fan of bent but he is our top scorer, so explain and why he didnt start or at least come on earlier in europe, instead harry goes defensive with a 5 man mid.

    In all of harry’s games he is too defensive, let the players express themselves a litlle, instead of making them so scared because evry point counts.

    Tottenham have forgotten what it is like to win, managers are paid to inspire, to influence results with their tactical know how, how many games have we genuinely tried to win, i mean really creating chances, go check the stats or better still watch the games, i have every single one this season, Harry does not believe in these players or have the belief that we would easily avoid relegation, after the honeymoon prd we could have been 10th, but what happened 7 away feeats on the bounce, you know why?????? Harry goes out there happy with a point, have a look at his team selections, too defensive, and when we score, we sit back and defend it rather than go for more goals, you know why??? the mentality of the players and management.

    Harry is a market trader, i dont care what you say, he knows the english league and speaks the language but is is too defensive and tactically clueless, his comments about bent sitter sums him up, no class, one who will always live in the past and never have the vision of true success .

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