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Hughes reign takes shape as Spurs suffer

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Phil McNulty | 21:44 UK time, Sunday, 30 January 2011

Craven Cottage

Harry Redknapp described his low-slung vantage point at Craven Cottage as "the worst viewing position I have ever been in my life." On this day it was a blessing in disguise.

The less Redknapp saw of Tottenham being taken to the cleaners by Fulham on the banks of the Thames the better - from first to last this was an eyesore of a performance.

If Fulham's impressive passage into the FA Cup fifth round marked the high point of Mark Hughes' fledgling tenure as manager, it was a rare low in Redknapp's reign at Spurs.

Fulham's 4-0 victory margin, with all goals scored in a spectacular first 45 minutes, was an understatement of their superiority and almost constituted a light escape for dismal Spurs.

Dembele scores Fulham's fourth as Spurs go 4-0 down before half-time

Dembele scores Fulham's fourth as Spurs go 4-0 down before half-time

Redknapp hardly needs to start sounding alarm bells on the back of one dreadful performance and he rightly pointed out that bad days have been few and far between since his arrival rejuvenated a club on its knees.

I have watched Spurs impress so often this season that even 90 minutes as harrowing as this should not dampen the optimism and hope Redknapp has restored to White Hart Lane.

But as the final day of the transfer window approached he was willing to express his concerns about threadbare defensive resources and players "running on empty" as he contemplates the future challenges of the Premier League and Champions League.

He admitted: "We've had a tough, tough season and we could do with freshening up one or two but we haven't got the people to do it."

Indeed, the more mischievous among us might even suggest the evidence that unfolded at Craven Cottage might just give Redknapp the added leverage he needs to apply some extra persuasion to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy before the window closes at 2300 GMT on Monday.

It would now be no great surprise if Spurs made their trademark contribution to the last dash for reinforcements this season as they were linked with a variety of names from Andy Carroll to Scott Parker and Sergio Aguero, not forgetting Everton's Phil Neville.

This was a meltdown made from many factors, not least the vibrant pace and power of a Fulham side which has manager Hughes believing the adjustments he made to Roy Hodgson's formula are coming to fruition, more of which later.
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Add an utterly catastrophic Spurs defensive showing, a lightweight midfield overloaded with natural talent in Luka Modric, Steven Pienaar and Aaron Lennon but devoid of physical presence and all the ingredients were in place to have Fulham's ecstatic fans suspending belief as they were four goals up at half-time.

Michael Dawson, normally so reliable, had a 14-minute nightmare. He played a part in the move that led to Alan Hutton's needless foul on Clint Dempsey, allowing Danny Murphy to score from the spot.

He then tugged obviously and desperately at Mousa Dembele after conceding possession in the area, earning a red card in the process and allowing Murphy to once again demonstrate his penalty expertise.

Fulham's further goals from Brede Hangeland and the outstanding Dembele decorated a display that delighted Hughes and will have increased his stock among any supporters still sceptical about his ability to replicate Hodgson's fine work.

It was only on Boxing Day that Hughes felt the fury of Fulham's fans when they lost at home to West Ham United, creating pressure and speculation about his future less than six months after his arrival.

Since then the signs of progress have been obvious and Craven Cottage could not contain its delight as Spurs were ripped apart on a regular basis by Fulham's pace, power and range of attacking options.

With Murphy calmly controlling affairs from midfield and Fulham effectively allowed free reign to probe the soft underbelly of Spurs' defence, the game was up within 15 minutes.

Hughes' hand has been strengthened, as he insisted it would be, by the return to fitness and form of Andrew Johnson. The former England striker, industrious as ever, ran Spurs into submission.

He had a willing assistant in the powerful Dembele, also making his way back from injury but still possessing enough to suggest Hughes did a shrewd piece of business when he paid AZ Alkmaar £5m for his services.

Hughes cited mitigating circumstances surrounding his slow start and the forthcoming return of Bobby Zamora will add more potency to a Fulham side that is solid at the back and creative in midfield.

And Fulham have no worries about their manager's hunger for the fight, wounded as he was by his unceremonious bundling out of Manchester City.

Hughes is winning growing acceptance at Craven Cottage and a victory of this stature will spread confidence. For Redknapp, it was a game when even his obstructed view could not blind him to his side's failings - but hardly a day for panic in a season with so much promise ahead.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    A terrible result for Spurs whom I fancied to win. Maybe a blessing in disguise though what with the pressures of the Champions League approaching again plus the enormous task of finishing within the top 4 again. I think Spurs definately need a top notch striker, it is not surprising that they are linked with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan etc. I hope they can land one of those big name strikers because Spurs have been one of the more entertaining teams this year.

  • Comment number 2.

    Harry Redknapp for next England manager? What a joke that is. Does anyone remember the manner and state that he left his last 3 clubs. If Man City came in for Harry tomorrow, offering him Loads of Dosh, he would be out of White Hart Lane like a shot. Yes the term 'Wheeler Dealer' is a bit of a sick joke down the South Coast.

  • Comment number 3.

    Great result for Fulham - magic of the cup is still alive and kicking

  • Comment number 4.

    #2, Have to disagree, Harry Redknapp is a genius. As a Hammer I was pretty miffed to lose him all those years ago only to be replaced by a procession of woeful successors. If Harry was still in charge of West Ham, with proper financial backing, we'd have been playing European football for the past few years without a doubt. Unfortunately, my club has been run, and continues to be run like a 3rd world government with just about everybody making money except the club itself. At Tottenham, Harry has the backing of some pretty big wallets and you can see the benefits. No manager can win every game, heck, West Ham remain the only team to beat Manchester United this season (fizzy pop cup, 4-0 also) - are you saying that having SAF as England manager would also be a joke?

    SAF, Arsene, Mourinho, Benitez (definitely!) have all made mistakes with buying players, effectively wasting good money on very bad players who were either bad to start with, or just couldn't adapt to the BPL; it goes with the territory - yet all of these managers would walk into the England manager's role without many people batting an eyelid (ok, perhaps not Benitez ...)

    For every Taibi Ferguson bought, there are Ronaldos.
    For every Bendtner Wenger bought, there are Henrys
    For every Boogers (oh yes!) Redknapp bought, there are Van der Vaarts

    If Redknapp stays at Tottenham for the next few years, and Levy contonues to back him, they'll be pushing Champions League every season. Compare their current squad versus Liverpool and tell me which you think is challenging for that position. Contrary to opinion about buying strikers, Tottenham need to buy defenders, and fast.

    Harry is human, yes, but a great manager also - would take him back at West Ham any day.

  • Comment number 5.

    Oops, contonues = continues, and Chrome keeps eating my spaces after full stops :(

  • Comment number 6.

    What a surprise Redknapp is trying to use his team's performance yesterday to get his chairman to spend again, he's the ultimate example of a chequebook manager.

    People are quick to give him credit for being a 'wheeler dealer' and for making money on transfers e.g Keane, but they forget that he brings players in on inflated wages e.g Utaka, which ultimately test a clubs finances over the long term.

  • Comment number 7.

    Fulham must invest in some younger players very soon or they will struggle really badly as soon as the tide changes for their aging players.

    Talking of aging players, I have to say that Frank Lampard on saturday turned in one of the worst performances i've seen from a premiership midfielder in years, and I include all midfielders in that statement, incluidng Phil Stamp

  • Comment number 8.

    Reality check for Spurs, it is no small achievement for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and lately Chelsea to consistently be competitive in Champions League, Domestic Cups and Premiership over the years. Spurs are in the Champions League for one year, but are already performing worse than they did domestically last year and that's even with a better squad than they had last year.
    But I have to say I am enjoying this domestic collapse of Spurs.

  • Comment number 9.

    Wow, you're one of the most biased people I have ever come across. With all due respect to Spurs, they got thrashed and you write a blog feeling sorry for them and making excuses on their behalf. Had Arsenal lost 4-0 to Fulham yesterday, you'd have written a completely different blog today talking about how Arsenal are not good enough and blah blah blah.

    It doesn't surprise me that bloggers like you do nothing to be impartial when it comes to blogging. For Christ sake, you wrote a whole blog on 'Mighty' Big Sam and his achievements only a week after Blackburn got slaughtered 7-0 by ManU. Big Sam is by far the most over-rated and big mouth manager I have ever seen. He has not won a single trophy in his whole career and yet people like you sit here and praise him like he is Alex Ferguson or Mourinho.

    You must have completely missed that Arsenal are the only team in the country to be in all 4 competitions and yet you don't write a single word about this achievement, let alone writing a blog. But how would you? They are the only team you don't want to write about when they're winning. I know for sure that if we lose one of our next few games, you'll wirte a 2000 words blog the very next morning saying that Arsenal aren't good enough.

    Remember, you get paid by BBC for writing impartial stuff instead of being biased 99% of times so it would be nice to write something good about a team like Arsenal sometimes even if you don't like them.

  • Comment number 10.

    Spurs need to work on their defense. Yesterday they had a strong team out there. This is why that 4-0 hurt. It might have been 8-0 easily and these are not scorelines for teams that desire to win the premiership.

  • Comment number 11.

    It was a comical first 30 minutes, which highlights exactly why Spurs are nowhere near challenging for the title at the moment.

    This is not the first time it has happened this season either; 3-0 down to Young Boys, 4-0 down to Inter Milan being notable examples. I personally don't understand it either, as looking at the defence on paper it looks pretty solid to me, one of the better defences in the league!

    However, as a neutral i am finding Spurs are the team i like to watch this year (after my own!), they actually play more gung-ho football than even Arsenal do these days. Not sure about the claims for needing a striker though, if anything you need a strong defensive midfielder to add some extra cover.

  • Comment number 12.

    @ No 9.....HEAR HEAR!

    The blogger is well known to defend any English manager & player regardless of their competence. He defended Roy Hudson as well, yet we can see the positive changes that has happened in Liverpool on the field of play after his departure. As for Sam Alladyce, even Blacburn's play & position in the league confirms what the rest of the footballing world know "Alladyce should not be managing in the premiership".

    The blogger as with the "Sky sports posse" do a disservice to English football with their inability to differentiate patriotism from blind bias, and an English by the way.

    As for Spurs, the truth is that without GARETH BALE, Spurs look a completely different side offensively, period

  • Comment number 13.

    Get your tin hat on Phil! It's Monday morning and the gooners are wearing their persecution complex again! You've got to love them though....they're hilarious!!

  • Comment number 14.

    I never realised there were so many sad Arsenal fans who have nothing better to do than comment on Spurs.

    We don't kid ourselves, Fulham played great, Spurs had an off day. Just hope it's the start of the revival for Fulham but still a long way to go.

    Arsenal fans might do better trying to explain Fabregas' conduct and the way Bendtner 'won' that penalty (i.e. cheated) by backing into Mcombe

  • Comment number 15.

    What is it with the Gunner's!! Their persecution complex is almost as big as the Celtic fans and that takes some doing!

    As for Tottenham they probably need a more clinical striker. Defoe has always seems to need more chances to get a goal, although he has had a few interuptions to this season with injury etc.

    The defence is somethng else and the main problem seems to be getting a settled back 4. With Woodgate and King both permanently on the injury list and Gallas only able to provide cover a decent centreback to partner Dawson long term is probably necessary. Other than that it looks good, perhaps its just lacking a better communicator/leader to sort it out?

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm not sure what people expected Harry Redknapp to do? We conceded two penalties inside the first 15 minutes and had a man sent off. I don't think he could do much about that?! If anything, it's a credit to his management style that he kept heads held high and helped us to not concede anymore in the second half - it's not like Fulham stopped playing, is it?

    This season, just like last season, will be judged 100% on whether we finish in the top 4 or not. The FA Cup, Mickey Mouse Cup and Champions League are all irrelevant in the long term planning of this club.

    We must secure 4th place to bring in the money, secure the big names next Summer and gradually build to become competitive in numerous competitions.

    This is how a football club should be run.

    Otherwise, we become a Leeds. Or a Newcastle. Or a Blackburn. Perhaps even a Nottingham Forest or Sheffield Wednesday?

    Manchester City and Tottenham are the clubs fighting for 4th place. Don't let any glory hunting blues' fans convince you otherwise, or a Chelsea wobble throw you off the scent.

    So, Manchester City are most welcome to their replay with Notts County. I'm very happy seeing the Spurs players resting that day.

  • Comment number 17.

    May not be relevant to this blog, but does anyone know the strict requirements of the advantage rule? (remember Peter Beardsley in the cup final versus Wimbledon anyone?). I thought that a referee can allow advantage if he thinks there is any, but I'm not aware of any rule (as in Rugby) that allows him to take the play back to the original incident? This seems to be happening more and more these days and I've never heard about any rule changes that would make it valid.
    As a Spurs fan it was mixed blessings to see someone sent off for the shirt pulling which I abhor, but how about some consistency referees, I've seen far worse than this not even resulting in a free kick! A certain Mr Vidic seems to have this art off to a tee and get's away with quite a bit!

  • Comment number 18.

    @9 -

    "You must have completely missed that Arsenal are the only team in the country to be in all 4 competitions and yet you don't write a single word about this achievement"

    Being in all four competitions at the end of January is not an actual achievement and certainaly not worth writing about - actually winning something of note is!

  • Comment number 19.

    14 - as a gooner, I would comment on Arsenal if that was the subject of the blog. But its not.

    Seeing as you've asked though, in my opinion NB52 went to ground way too easily for that penalty, I feel sorry for the Terriers fans as their team was the better one on the day.

    Fabregas behaviour was unjustifiable though, I hate seeing players asking for others to be sent off, even if he was just asking for refereeing consistency. He is an incredible player but nobodys perfect, as his blatant dive last week against Ipswitch showed.

    All this said, its not like Arsenal players are the only ones who don't dive or harrass the referee when a decision doesn't suit them, it just appears to be a trait of the modern footballer.

  • Comment number 20.

    When RVdeV said that Arry's tactical preparation was awry, not many people agreed. But on the evidence on display at CC, there should be no doubt as to the level (or more lack) of Arry's tactical nous!

  • Comment number 21.

    If Woodgate comes back and can have a run in the team without injury (something I doubt) that would be a massive boost. He has leadership qualities our other captains lack and is a top defender when fit.

    Redknapp needs to buy a competent striker if we're going to do anything this season. Watching Crouch's static forward play, endless muffing up of chances, offsides and fouling is thoroughly depressing. Why Redknapp still leaves Pav on the bench in favor of this hopeless donkey is a total mystery.

  • Comment number 22.

    It doesn't suprise me that you failed to understand what the actual key to the victory was. The opening two goals and red card came about due to the fact that Sparky set the attacking players out to press as high as they did as he had clearly done his homework on how Spurs play from the back. Once the ball was in play and with their defenders, Johnson, Dembele and Dempsey were on them and forced them into their mistakes. It wasn't as if the Spurs defence were ridiculously slow in passing the ball at the back, it was merely fantastic pressing. That pretty much shows that Sparky tactically outthought Harry Redknapp.

    Furthermore, had someone like Bale, Van Der Vaart or a household name scored Dembele's goal then everyone would be proclaiming it as the goal of the season.

  • Comment number 23.

    #21 - agreed RE Crouch. I can only assume Harry's trying to get Crouch to translate his Chmps Lg form into other competitions. It doesn't seem to be working though and Pav is definitely worthy of a few more starts. I know he's not amazing, but he's certainly a competent striker of the ball and does have a few shots on target when he plays.

    Not sure Woodgate will ever live up to his true potential. It's such a shame but his Carling Cup header looks set to be the highlight of his career...

  • Comment number 24.

    We are t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e away from home, we've gone 4 down in the first half a few times this season and the away form overall has been poor for a club aspiring to the top four, we could slide to 6 or 7 if it carries on. Like many Spurs fans I find it hard to fathom why two poor finishers in Defoe & Crouch constantly get the nod over Pavluchenko.
    Good luck to Fulham, I Am sure we have cemented Mark Hughes' job in place for him !!

  • Comment number 25.

    City fan here. The perfect solution to both our teams' perceived failings: you can have one of our countless tough, combative but somewhat unimaginative holding midfielders (apparently something of a requirement for Spurs) and we in return get one of your tricky, exceptionally creative but physically lacking midfielders (something we definitely need). It's a win-win surely?!

  • Comment number 26.

    Spurs showed what they are really made of here- lots of flair, awful at the back and no physicality where its needed, in the middle of the park. Modric as captain?!
    I dont understand the pursuit of Forlan- he struggled so much when last here, why is that going to change? He couldnt handle the physical nature of the game, thats why he has prospered in Spain.
    Spurs need to continue to build thier squad not splash 30+ just to appeasae the fans or make a statement...just like a certain team in the North West...

  • Comment number 27.

    Interesting that, although you rightly say that one bad game for Spurs shouldn't necessarily start a downward trend, you comment that Fulham are taking shape under Hughes after just this game. Looking at the league table, Fulham's position still looks pretty unsafe to me and they will naturally have to translate this sort of performance to consistency. Performing well in the Cup is great (and can often give the players time out of worry about the league) but I strongly suspect that the business side of the club would rather they cemented their premier league status.

    As an admirer of Mark Hughes from his Welsh national team and Blackburn days, I hope he does well with Fulham and they can kick on to absolute safety on the back of this performance. Their recent league form is still a bit topsy-turvy, I would say (3 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses, I think).

    I shall hold judgement on whether Hughes' reign is taking positive shape until a few more games yet.

  • Comment number 28.

    As a Spurs fan, watching that was awful. Possibly the worst performance I can remember for a very very long time.

    Credit to Fulham, they were far far better. We were a mess in defence, Gomes looked unsure, and there was nothing up front either - Defoe hardly touched the ball. Crouch was a bit more effective but it was lost by then. The only player who gets any credit with me is Modric, who at least kept trying and didnt make any howlers!

    Also got to question Harry's slightly strange decision after Dawson's sending off in replacing the only big, strong defensive midfielder on the bench to bring on Gallas - I'm sure anyone would have been a better choice.

    However, while not taking away from Fulham, am I the only one who couldn't believe Dowd's decision to send Dawson off?? On one hand we have Hutton who makes a clumsy tackle and brings down a Fulham player in the box before he can shoot and that's a penalty and nothing more, then we had Dawson who is caught in possession, holds on to the strikers shirt outside the box, lets go, the Fulham player continues has a good shot on target requiring a good save, and Dowd then brings it back, awards a penalty and sends off Dawson.

    Now I'm not saying the result would have been any different had he not sent Dawson off, but how did he deny him a scoring opportunity when he took the opportunity and hit a goal bound shot??? why was there such a massive difference in the treatment of Dawson and Hutton when they both gave away penalties?? And why was the second foul when it was already 1-0, so much worse than the first?? And this being in the FA Cup too where normally refs are more lenient that the league too!

  • Comment number 29.

    Agree that Harry can now concentrate on what matters - winning the Euros. More than a bit fed up with Harry bashers who don't get that he was right to quit Pompey both times. The first time he told Mandaric that he'd quit if a director of footbal was brought in above him.. Avram Grant by the way .. the 2nd time when it was all too obvious the club was being held hostage by it's rich boy owner. Harry for England

  • Comment number 30.

    However, while not taking away from Fulham, am I the only one who couldn't believe Dowd's decision to send Dawson off??

    -=---------------------------

    It was a 2nd yellow though I think rather than a straight red card

  • Comment number 31.

    30. At 11:50am on 31 Jan 2011, PetShopBoys_Forever wrote:
    However, while not taking away from Fulham, am I the only one who couldn't believe Dowd's decision to send Dawson off??

    -=---------------------------

    It was a 2nd yellow though I think rather than a straight red card

    Complain about this comment

    ------------------------------

    No it was a straight red, he hadn't been booked. The only players booked were Van Der Vaart and Duff.

  • Comment number 32.

    @28

    I'm fuming about the decisions made by the ref in the first half. The second penalty, at the very best, demonstrates tremendous inconsistency in refereeing. Either tugging a shirt in the penalty box is a penalty or it isn't, make up your minds, but if you're going to punish one, please punish the dozen or so similar (and, in most cases, much worse) tugging infringements in every single game. I agree with you that I don't even think the tug interfered with the attempt.

    I was also annoyed that no action was taken when Defoe was very clumsily hit in the face, and it appeared (though I would need to see it again, if I'm honest), that Van der Vaart was pulled back to lose possession in the run up to Fulham's fourth.

    However, this is to take nothing away from Fulham who played extremely well and had us under the kosh from the get-go. And Spurs' defending *was* atrocious... The first three goals came from absolute howlers, Dawson in particular I should single out as the worst culprit. And that was due to Fulham's splendid harrying off the ball.

    Fulham deserved every bit of their win - the manner of it (apropos officiating), however, is what has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

  • Comment number 33.

    Haven't seen the highlights yet by the sounds of things Spurs were so poor and Fulham took full advantage, in fact it could have been worse. You can't gift any Premier League side 2 goals in the first quarter of an hour and let them have a man advantage. You're always going to be onto a hiding doing that.

    I think this month has shown once again our need for a top quality striker though. Our strikers are decent players but if we want to be a top 4 club and challenge for honours then we need a world class striker. Arsenal have van Persie, Chelsea have Drogba, United have Berbatov and Rooney, City have Tevex, Ballotelli and now Dzeko, even Liverpool have Torres (for now). Whereas we have Defoe. Don't get me wrong when Defoe's on a hot streak he can bang them in for fun, his trouble though is that his hot streaks tend to come in single games. Take last season for example, scored over 20 goals but they came in batches with 2 or 3 hat-tricks. He doesn't consistently get goals week in week out which is what's needed.

    It's great that Bale and van der Vaart have got so many this year but they should be in addition to the goals our main striker is getting. I think we have 3 terrific strikers at the moment but none of them are consistent enough, they all do a very good job but to be at the top unfortunately we need something more. None of those 3 strike fear into the hearts of defenders and I hope that we can get someone with that quality today or we won't be getting top 4 again this year.

    P.S. again well done Fulham, terrific performance from a great club and good to see Hughes picking up the results you need now. Hope they go far in this competition.

  • Comment number 34.

    @32

    I think it was Sidwell, and from my watching he caught Defoe with an elbow. Possible sending off, but it was missed.

    @33 3 terrific strikers? Don't agree at all. Defoe is really struggling to get going, not sure he's fit yet but he's been in and out so much recently. Crouch puts in the effort but just doesn't score in the league, and well Pav, well half the time he doesn't put in the effort. I'd love a new striker, but we've left it too late and I don't really believe that these rumoured £38million pound bids have actually happened.

  • Comment number 35.

    its called second season syndrome. Spurs have a good team and are rightfully being spoken of as 4th placers. I think people fail to realise the difficulty of playing every three days for 8 months, all of this on the back of a world cup. It just goes to show how impressive it is that the Big 3 do it every year, especially Arsenal, who it appears once again are going to let me down badly and buy no one.

    In Wenger We Trust.

  • Comment number 36.

    Watching Spurs collapse yesterday was quite something. There were quite a few flaws in the team selection, first of all you missed Bale on the left and Pienaar is the type of midfielder to drift about and create chances, he isn't a winger. No enforcer in the center of midfield, you missed Huddlestone dearly too, the type of player who breaks up play and feeds it to Modric. I don't understand why Harry didn't start with Jenas & Modric in center midfield, maybe he doesn't rate Jenas highly? And finally it's obvious that you lack a world-class striker. Forlan or Aguero would be the perfect signing, but will come at a price. I must admit Defoe on his day is superb but he isn't consistent enough. Pavlyuchenko should be given a shot and Crouch should only be used as a Plan B (Only bring him in for the last 20-30 mins of a game)

  • Comment number 37.

    #34, yes I'd say 3 terrific strikers, when you see some of the goals they've scored and the teams they've played for when they're on song they are all terrific players. That's the problem though, they're not on song enough and aren't consistent enough. You look at almost every club below us and they'd all happily take anyone of them off our hands. The problem is that none of the clubs above us would want them, we need strikers who can take us up a level and who really are world class. Sadly I agree with you though that it probably is too late to get a good deal for anyone now. No-one wants to sell in January, particularly when it comes to top quality talent as there's no time to get a replacement in so we'll just have to hope they start firing again soon.

  • Comment number 38.

    Why do modern Arsenal fans need to complain on threads like this? Yes the press and football establishment hate Arsenal. Yes we never get credit where it's due. But so what? That's been par for the course since the 1930's! Save for it for Arsenal threads.

    Post 19 spot on. We were lucky, and I feel for the Terriers. Agree on Fabregas, however, it's rich fans of clubs who've had Keane, Mcmahon, Souness et al playing for them to criticise his behaviour!

    As for the Fulham game, a reality check is indeed what it was. Spurs are over hyped by both manager and press, and inevitably when someone took the game to them, they came unstuck. In Spurs defence, they have had problems with defensive cover, and the midfield looked slight, but come on, this is Fulham we are talking about here!

    No offence to Fulham fans, but Hughes has himself struggled to cope with injuries and getting his players to accept his way of doing things, and Spurs were expected to win - no matter who they put out.

    The problem Spurs now face, is that we have arrived at the knock out stage in Europe, and that (as Arsenal know too well) is where you get found out. The groups stages area waste of space these days, but once the group stage chaff is gone, it's gets exponentially harder!

    As for the West Ham 'fan' defending Redknapp, I would suggest keeping that view to yourself among West Ham fans. I know plenty who would gladly see Redknapp chucked out of football. As would plenty of Southampton, Portsmouth and doubtless with his record, soon, Spurs fans.........

  • Comment number 39.

    Fulham's revival can be seen over the last few weeks with an improvement in performances all round. I think having some of the forwards make a return from injury will see them slowly climb the table away from relegation.

    Having Johnson back gives them a different dimension than Zamora (when fit). Dembele also scored a very good goal yesterday and showed some other promising signs.

  • Comment number 40.

    Thousands of ticket holding fans were locked out of the Asian Games Cup Final in Qatar on Saturday, between Japan and Australia, Riot Police wielding battens stopped legitimate fans with tickets from getting into the Stadium, What chance have they got when the world cup gets to this desert sandpit in 2022, Kids and families were barred from entering the stadium even though it wasn't even full and they had correct tickets
    a few of the riot police laid into the families!
    This tiny nation hasn't got a clue; it handles everything badly so makes you wonder how they got the World Cup, btw Temps here reach over 50 degrees C in Summer not 40 as the report says

    great report on Al Jazeera sports web page

  • Comment number 41.

    harry redknapp is and will always be an average manager. he buys the obvious players. how hard was it for him to decide to buy defoe and crouch. how long did it take for him to play bale. in inherited a good team and he has been given money to buy obvious players. i dnt think he's a very good manager, and if spurs wanna move forward id sack him for mourinho

  • Comment number 42.

    Fabregas behaviour was unjustifiable though, I hate seeing players asking for others to be sent off, even if he was just asking for refereeing consistency. He is an incredible player but nobodys perfect, as his blatant dive last week against Ipswitch showed.
    -------------------------------

    To be fair, Arsenal had a player sent off for a foul 35 yards from goal, so why should a foul 8 yards from goal not be a red? Surely it was more of a goal scoring chance than the other.

    Great overreaction to one game BUT Spurs need to be careful, the pressure of the CL is something that gets laughed off until it starts to affect league form. Spurs have had some stunning performances in the CL and on one occasion in particular, for the following league game they looked exhausted and lost.

    One thing is clear, their squad is not deep enough to challenge on multiple fronts, an injury to Bale or VanD Vaart could de-rail their season.

  • Comment number 43.

    The problem Spurs now face, is that we have arrived at the knock out stage in Europe, and that (as Arsenal know too well) is where you get found out. The groups stages area waste of space these days, but once the group stage chaff is gone, it's gets exponentially harder!
    ------------------------------

    I wouldn't say Inter Milan are group stage chaff somehow and they beat them at WHL and Werder Bremen and FC Twente aren't exactly rubbish either

  • Comment number 44.

    #43 - Exactly. It was actually the toughest Group of all based on the seeding used in the draw. (Inter Milan top seed in pot 1, Werder Bremen top seed in pot 2, Tottenham top seed in pot 3 and FC Twente seed 2 in pot 4).

    That said, Arsenal's group was full of rubbish. Oh but wait.. they didn't win their group!

  • Comment number 45.

    44. If we had been given the most obvious penalty against Braga, when Vela was annhilated in the box, then we would have won the group. As it was, we carried on attacking and conceded on the counter attack.

    Also, i was at yesterdays game and the referee was shocking. He kept booking the wrong people. At one people Fabregas picked the ball up on the halfway line and was pushed from behind so hard that his face hit the floor. Yellow card Fabregas. McNulty, you shouldnt be blogging on individual games, but on the need for robot refereeing.

  • Comment number 46.

    At one point*

  • Comment number 47.

    #43 - Exactly. It was actually the toughest Group of all based on the seeding used in the draw. (Inter Milan top seed in pot 1, Werder Bremen top seed in pot 2, Tottenham top seed in pot 3 and FC Twente seed 2 in pot 4).

    That said, Arsenal's group was full of rubbish. Oh but wait.. they didn't win their group!
    ----------------------------

    No, but we actually got more points than you did, your group looked difficult, but the way Rafa managed to ruin Inter Milan was quite amazing.

    Anyway, you just got knocked out of the FA cup 4-0 to Fulham, we knocked you out of the CC at your place, and we are a way ahead of you in the league, but strange of you to try and act superior, but hey, whatever makes you feel better on the morning after the day before....

  • Comment number 48.

    Knee-Jerk reaction much!

    Firstly well done Fulham, hammered Spurs. Though anyone would think they were no-hopers, I never fancied us to win this game. Fulham have now racked up 4 home wins on the bounce and are playing well so them winning was not a surprise 4-0 is a hefty loss but 2-0 after 15 mins with 10 men is game over.

    Also whats this about second season syndrome?! were a couple points of the champions league places and are flying in the competition, if thats bad whats good?!
    City are spending for fun so this year was going to be tougher but were still in with a great shout so lets wait until the end of the season before we start panicing.

  • Comment number 49.

    Best result possible for Spurs. They don't have the squad to compete on three fronts, and are hardly likely to rest players in the CL. Focusing their efforts on the league and CL will suit them much better.

  • Comment number 50.

    Too simplistic an analysis. Natural talent beats physicality any day. It is when it is not talented enough that it poses a problem. There was more wrong with Spurs' midfield yesterday than the lack of physical stature.

  • Comment number 51.

    48. i never said it was bad. I was merely attempting to explain their relative performance in the league. Touchy.

  • Comment number 52.

    I've watched a few Spurs games this season and I've seem them play just as bad more than once. In the past occasions, they did manage a bit of a fightback and people seem not to remember how bad they'd played.

    The CL qualifying match when they were 3-0 in a hurry. . . They fought back to 3-2 and with the tie heading back to WHL, they qualified.

    The CL match against Inter . . . Again, shambolic play for a few minutes; were down 4-0 (and a man down). But then Bale scored a hattrick and recovered some dignity for the team. Noone spoke about how badly they'd played earlier on.

    In all fairness, they don't play poorly for 90 minutes. It's usually a 20-minute window in the first half . . . but that can be enough.

    Yesterday's windows were around the two penalties. This time, they didn't/couldn't fight back. Fulham didn't become complacent.

    In addition I think the substitutions Reddknapp made were puzzling.

    2/3

  • Comment number 53.

    6. At 09:35am on 31 Jan 2011, POW - Right in the kisser wrote:
    What a surprise Redknapp is trying to use his team's performance yesterday to get his chairman to spend again, he's the ultimate example of a chequebook manager.

    People are quick to give him credit for being a 'wheeler dealer' and for making money on transfers e.g Keane, but they forget that he brings players in on inflated wages e.g Utaka, which ultimately test a clubs finances over the long term.

    ===================================================================

    I love the people who are so firmly in the believe that a club that almost went down the plug hole due to the financial strain of getting new players and a squad together that they could not afford was solely down to the manager. Its simply not the case!!

    Reason, who is in charge of the club? who is financially responsible for the club? Its not the manager is it?!

    What is the process of making an acquisition, in all walks on business? The manager will ask a Chief Exec or Owner for the funds to buy a asset (in this case a player), this would then be approved or rejected. The offer would be made in the same way you would negotiate a price for any asset to ensure all parties agree. The next stage would then involve the Chief Exec or the Owner putting together a personal package that the club can afford to the party in question, again this would then be accepted or rejected by the party. That’s a basic understanding of a simple business transaction.

    To implicate Redknapp for running Portsmouth into the ground is basically looking for a scapegoat. Redknapp knew the financial situation within the club, they were being grossly mismanaged!!!! Are you surprised that he left when Spurs came calling, they have ambition and with it a wallet that was in control and not being mismanaged by Peter Storrie.

    Tottenham have a wage structure that is very low, the highest paid player is Robbie Keane and I believe that is £70k a week, compared that to the likes of their competitors who are splashing desperate amounts of money on overrated and in many cases underperforming players, and you don’t see Redknapp kicking and screaming, he is being backed up in a responsible way, in a way that the club can afford.

    Fact - You can not blame a manager for offering inflated wages to any player as its not the manager that pays the wages or signs the contract, it’s the player and the club (usually the Chief Exec or Owner)

  • Comment number 54.

    Its the curse of the 4th place qualifier isn't it? add the fact that harry seems to do his coaching on the pages of newspapers as opposed to the field and you are looking at a spurs that is increasingly looking like pettering out before close of season as predicted by Sir Alex.

    Spurs have been associated with just about every striker and their Dog this transfer window from the mildly possible to the outrightly crazy and for incredible amounts of money. The fallout from that will tell on the players within the team and definitely affect their play.

    Spurs are believing there own hype and instead on focusing on football are begininning to think they are big players when in fact they should pace themselves and grow from season to season and not just go from crawling to flying in three days, Leeds anyone?

    Spurs will definitely not qualify for the champions league this season and they wil be lucky to qualify for Europa and it will be entirely their fault. The one fallout of that will be the fact that a number of players will falls victim of their press football, Van Der Vaart, Bale etc cos they have a penchant for the champs league now and it will be interesting to see if spurs can keep them away from sustained interest from more forward thinking clubs.

    I am unsure as per the financial pedigree of spurs but they seem to be spending a lot these days and not making nearly enough money. I would love to read some litreature on their finances so if anyonew could refer me to an article or something, i would appreciate it.

    I think Harry is a good coach but like a text message from a spurs fan said yesterday, he's a top ten coach and not a top four coach and he needs to realise that as that will mean the difference between improvement and stagnation. Spurs have arguably the best team in the premiership next to man city and i find it strange that Harry is still complaining about a lack of players.

    Arsenal has shown and i think everyone finally agrees that you dont have to sppend to achieve success and before anyone says "what success" Sir Alex, Mourhino, Ancelotti or indeed as Harry, try achieving what Wenger has achieved on the budget he's had to do it with. In my book thats success! What ever happened to Spurs youth policy, i see a lot of promising young players that never get a game even when the older ones are injured. Arsenal bar this year have probably had the worst injury crisis in the premiership in the last four years and they seem to just make do with their youth players. Of recent Man U seem to be doing the same thing aand the tragedy of the chelsea situation is that i believe that in Mcchreacran, they have arguably a player that is better than jack wilshere... if only they would give him more playing time which is not bloody likely. It would seem that Spurs have been caught up in this too and herein lies the danger to them. if they fail to qualify for the champions league, they are out of the carling and FA cups, and they fall out of the champs league at the next hurdle then they are toast. they lose the income form all of these competitions and fail to go back to the champions league next season, their gate takings remain the same.

    Everton have been unable to recover fully from their brief stint in the champs league and they spent frugally. The champs league is a lottery which you approach with common sense which seems to have gone missing at spurs and the damage becomes evident in the subsequent season where you dont qualify. All that money for nothing. What is worse is that the premier league gets more competitive every year and their are more clubs capable of beating you on meagre resources every year and unlike the la liga where after the regulation losses to madrid and barca, if u avoid defeat to any other club, u automatically qualify, the best league in the world is also the most competitive and NOTHING is assured.

  • Comment number 55.

    IN THE 1978-79 SEASON NOTTINGHAM FOREST PLAYED 70 COMPETETIVE MATCHES - LOSING JUST..............FOUR.
    BRIAN CLOUGH'S SQUAD HAD ABOUT 16 PLAYERS IN IT (for younger readers, this was in the days of 1 substitute - not 7 - which is a development that rather benefits the bigger clubs - like Spurs in fact).
    For Redknapp to say "we've HAD a tough season" as if we're near the end is farcical. These days players are paid too much and put in too little - FACT !

  • Comment number 56.

    At 55. The pace of the game is much quicker today. You can't compare it. Football from the 1970s/early 80s was almost a different game.

    Also the Champions League is a much more demanding competition. The fact that the big leagues enter 4-5 of their clubs make it a competition with much more depth and with groups there are more games. Also in the old European Cup you had typically your 1st round against the champions from Malta, 2nd round against champions from Switzerland, then a quarter final against a Portuguese team before semi finals and a final against any club from a big nation. Completely different from today's competition where Spurs played Inter Milan twice before they are even in the last 16.

  • Comment number 57.

    There's been some remarkably arrogant tripe from both Arsenal & Spurs fans here.

    1. Heaven forbid McNulty writes a blog on a game that doesn't contain a Sky 4 team. This match very much deserved a blog more than the Arsenal game.
    2. Spurs fans, alot of you seriously underestimate Fulham. We're a good team at home and we've been in good form. Spurs only just beat us a few months back in the middle of our dismal run so to assume a victory now was a big mistake. Sure, Spurs had a decent chance due to the quality of their players (VdV for instance was brilliant last time we played Spurs at CC) but they should not have been anything more than slight favourites. A little humility goes a long way.

    Rant over. Spurs will still have a good season, glad we won't have to play them again!

  • Comment number 58.

    Post 56 - whilst I would agree that the games is far quicker, the squads today are far far bigger - supposedly to cope with the amount of games...but as my post shows back then the Liverpols / Forests were playing 42 league games (4 more than now) and 20-odd cup matches. No different from now. I thought that players were fitter these days, but it seems - according to Redknapp - that just 60% into the season, his millionaires are "running on empty". Sorry - it's a joke, and as others have pointed out, a barbed comment in the hope that he'll be allowed to add to the £100m NET spending Spurs have undertaken in the past 4 years.

  • Comment number 59.

    Spurs were made to look poor by a very well organised Fulham team who used their pace to close down the defenders and not let them have anytime on the ball. Well done to Hughes for his tactics which I'm sure a few other managers will have noted. I think that Spurs will stuggle now for the rest of the season unless they can pull off a couple of major signings today.

  • Comment number 60.

    @ 58. Well obviously you have an agenda behind your point, but I do think comparing football from the 70s/80s to today is a big red herring. The game is much, much quicker now. If you watch footage from the past and compare to today it is glaringly obvious. Thats why although players are more athletic they are more prone to injury today. There seems to be endless repetition about "millionaires" feeling tired etc but the games themselves are more physically demanding. Doesn't matter whether there are 38 games or 42, the 38 games players play today are more intense, even if more cards are shown for physical play. Also there are more European games today as well.

    All the top managers rotate their squads and if Clough or Paisley were managing today they'd do the same thing.

  • Comment number 61.

    A very bad day at the office but not something to get overly concerned about in the overall scheme of things. Fourth place in the Premier League is the priority, although I think that is a very tough ask.

    A particularly tough ask when you consider the distortion of the competition in financial terms due to the extraordinary sums at the disposal of the owners of Chelsea and Manchester City.

    That is the real problem for teams like Tottenham and to a lesser extent Arsenal. Chelsea and Manchester City, like Blackburn before them, are simply trying to buy success, and to some extent, in the case of Chelsea, it has worked.

    However that can't continue in the long run. Success has to be derived from a sustainable budget - regardless of a £50 million bid for Torres!

    Football supporters with a true knowledge of the game and its history will know that when Roman Abramovich moves on there is a real danger that Chelsea will return to the days of pre-Bates spending era. The same will eventually happen at Manchester City although they have an outstanding large core support.

    Only then will some more recent "supporters" realise that the true status and size of a club is measured by its long term domestic fan base and not by how many shirts it sells in Shanghai. That is why, even despite their recent lack of success, clubs like West Ham, Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa will continue to be regarded as true big clubs.

    Chelsea may yet win the Champions League but I'm afraid they will have bought that success. That's not an accusation you can throw at previous winners Manchester United and Liverpool, or Arsenal in their attempts to do so.

  • Comment number 62.

    Spurs are a financially stable club, more stable than Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City. We generate our own revenues for which we make a profit, we do not rely on billion pound owners who do want to turn a crawl into flying in 3 days, albeit we are owned by a multi billionaire. We first started this process 5 years ago when we qualified for the Europa league under Martin Jol (again short term memory). Daniel Levy has been at the helm all along and has overseen a gradual process which has seen some ups and downs. We are clever in the transfer market, our wage structure in solid and we don’t do transfer deals like Leeds did for Rio. If we don’t qualify for the CL again then we are in a better position that most clubs would be, we are structured!!!

    So many football fans really aren't aware of the financials and the problems that these clubs are in. The amount of money Man City spend on wages is larger than the total revenue that they generate, so you know what that means? It means that all the money that they make from sponsorship, tickets, shirt sales do not even cover the wages of their employees, so if the funding of the deepest pockets in the world of football ran out Man City would be out of business tomorrow. They have made losses that no one else could support. No wonder UEFA are keen to start looking at the financial position of clubs. Spurs have never had the regular income that they have enjoyed and unlike others we didn’t make massive investment this year just shrewd business with RvdV and he seems to be more than just looking for the success, otherwise we would have joined Bayern the day before he joined Spurs.

    Arsenal are an example to all clubs on how to run and remain profitable rather than just splash £20m+ on a player to replace an injured player for a few months. We have a record transfer that is below the £20m mark. The strikers we have been linked with have been paper talk in general, nothing has been stated by the club and we know that because Harry cant keep his mouth shut normally. Everton were never ever setup for CL they have no money, their owner has been trying to sell the club for years. I think if you spoke to an Everton fan they would agree that they have over achieved since Moyes has been there, when you consider what they have spent.

    Gee2015 - As for a link to the finances please see the link attached http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/articles/financial-results-111110.html (obviously didn’t want to look too hard did you)

    I would like to remind you of the injury crisis that Spurs have had this season and remind you that we have coped when you consider we are still in the top 5 of the league and still in with a shout of the top 4. I can name here a list of the major players injured this season long term. King, Woodgate, Dawson, Gallas, Kaboul, Defoe, Huddlestone, RVdV, Jenas.

    We also have a young squad, we don’t buy players in like other teams so we simply settle and get on with the job in hand. Opinionated view from someone who could really just get on with support their own club rather than talk about information that is simply on true.

  • Comment number 63.

    #62 - Good post

  • Comment number 64.

    Vox Populi - the only agenda I have is to point out that IN SOME WAYS the game was actually HARDER 30 years ago. At the risk of sounding 75 (I'm 43) balls were heavier, games were played on mud-baths and ice-rinks, tackling was tougher, diet advice was non-existant, and physiotherapy was in its infancy.....yet the top clubs were playing as many games as the Spurs of this world. I think one of my other points is that Brian Clough / Bob Paisley etc wouldn't have dreamed of saying their SIXTEEN first team players were tired in January.

  • Comment number 65.

    Vox Populi - the only agenda I have is to point out that IN SOME WAYS the game was actually HARDER 30 years ago. At the risk of sounding 75 (I'm 43) balls were heavier, games were played on mud-baths and ice-rinks, tackling was tougher, diet advice was non-existant, and physiotherapy was in its infancy.....yet the top clubs were playing as many games as the Spurs of this world. I think one of my other points is that Brian Clough / Bob Paisley etc wouldn't have dreamed of saying their SIXTEEN first team players were tired in January.
    ---------------------------

    To be fair dude, half of the time in the 70s the players weren't even running. Watch a video replay of a 70s match, it looks like the replay is in slow motion, half the time the players are walking, even on the ball.

    The point is that today your are looking at extreme performances, pushing the body to the maximum and it inevitably takes its toll on the players. It isn't the case of a player saying 'oh gaffer, I am a bit tired' - they use extensive medical analysis to ascertain that a player cannot perform at an optimal level due to fatigue.

    It is the same in all sports, there is inevitably a point where peak performance levels dropped, it is sports science and fact based.

    Years ago players smoked, drank heavily and it didn't seem to affect them. Mutu was drug tested by Chelsea because they had evidence of a dip in performance levels and wanted to find a cause. Sir Alex, Arsene Wenger and many top managers regularly talk of player fatigue and I am sure they (and the medical team) know the players far better than any of us debating on a BBC page.

  • Comment number 66.

    Fulham fan here who was very suprised by Redknapps team selection yesterday, considering we have played Spurs 6 times in the last year i would have thought he would have been licking his lips when he saw Salcido appear on the Fulham teamsheet, what does he do? Plays Lennon out of position down the left against our only defender with any pace (pantsil)VanderVart just kept wandering in of the left wing and they put no pressure on salcido whatsoever, also Sandro playing instead of Jenas and Defoe up front against Hangeland had me scratching my head, Gomes was clearly unable to kick as he layed everything of short which is why Spurs conceded the two early pens..

    As for Fulham, imagine any top 5 team losing all 3 of there main strikers for 4 months? Dempsey has done an amazing job for us filling in but now Dembele/Johnson and soon the return of Zamora we will be flying up the league as we are very very hard to beat and have the two most underated centre backs in the league, Stockdale looks a class act and future England keeper, hopefully a great run in the cup and who knows where we can finish in the league this season..

  • Comment number 67.

    superAdamStrange - have to agree, with returning players you'll be hard to beat. I remember Arsenal going to CC and getting a 1-0 win, it was one of the best results of the season.

    You prefer Hughes or Hodge?

  • Comment number 68.

    I think Hughes has a more attractive way of playing and has found it hard not having a out and out striker to balance the team, Hodgson was far more defensive and you just couldnt see a win away from home coming except in europe where the caginess seemed to pay off.

    Only problem Hughes has is Zoltan Gera, when you score winners in Euro cup semi finals in front of a packed home crowd you tend to become a crowd hero, Hughes just cant find a place for him and thats the only reason he is having problems being accepted by most fans.

  • Comment number 69.

    Thanks for the reference Tom gleave but two things, when you say you have young players, i agree totally but where are they? They are definitely not playing for spurs so which team arew they playing for? I am going through the team right now and apart from Bale, Lennon and Hutton who were all purchased from other clubs and continued their development ar spurs, i don't see the players you are talking about.

    Secondly, we probably will see at the end of the season if you are right or not but development and success don't come over night and you mentioned that it started with Jol, Ramos et al but the point really will be about qualifying for the top competitions and maintaining that. Qualifying in one year and almost winning it does not count if it cannot be sustained and to be honest i don't see spurs doing that.

    Going back to the youth thingy, what you get with using players developed by the club is loyalty and dedication, something Barcelona, Man U and Arsenal seem to have a lot about.

    I don't support Spurs, but i will be the first to say they are next to arsenal the team that play the most attractive football in the league but having said that, this year will be an expensive failure for them if at the end they have nothing to show for it.

    I see that you do have your facts right about the "long" list of injuries spurs has but the point i was trying to make is that if every time a club has injuries, they rush to buy up more players then what happens when the players come back. Kranjcar was bought by Harry ostensibly as cover for Modric when he was injured and Kranjcar has played all of what 5 games all season?

    I really am sorry i have the nerve to talk about your club which has qualified for the champions league, is out of the carling and FA cups and very unlikely to qualify for the champs league next season but come end of season when spurs proves me wrong then you can say you told me so and give me a long lecture about how your club spent 6 years achieving...what exactly?that club is courting with disaster.

  • Comment number 70.

    The true test is the test of time. Over the season, Fulham are not a 4-0 better team than Spurs. The other way round is nearer the mark. From a City perspective, I hope this represents a flat patch for Spurs and they don't bounce back anytime soon.

    Harry, Ollie, Owen, etc., have received the plaudits, but I wonder if sometimes striking it lucky with players in purple patches exaggerates a manager's contribution. Bale is a huge hole to fill. How will Blackpool fare without Charlie Adam? How much of a loss will Adam Johnson be? Time will tell.

  • Comment number 71.

    #69 - what on Earth are you rambling on about? How would it be an 'expensive failure' for Tottenham if they fail to 'achieve' anythign this year? Our club makes a tidy profit each year, thanks. A profit that is already significantly higher than last year thanks to our achievements in the champions league (3 wins, 2 draws and qualification for the knockout stage is a decent sum of money on top of everything we made from TV just by qualifying!)

    Now, I'll be the first to admit that we MUST finish 4th this year to consolidate our position and continue building. However, should we fall short, we will not be courting with disaster. We're perfectly stable!

    If you want an example of a club courting with disaster, how about taking a look at Chelsea, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool and, once SAF retires, Manchester United?

  • Comment number 72.

    #71 - even as a gooner, have to agree with that. spurs are a very well run club, solid fan base and no chance of a possible financial disaster. If the worst does happen, selling Bale would ease any financial problem (were it to exist).

    Unfortunately for Spurs they DO need to consolidate their top 4 position, which I fear they won't. Despite a terrible run of form, Chelsea are still ahead, and the limitless and shameless spending of Man City has pushed the comp too far ahead. I am actually amazed that Arsenal manage to maintain their status despite a real lack of comparative spending.

    I do fear for Spurs tho, the cup showed that they are unable to cope with the demands of competing in Europe, and although I actually expect to go far in this seasons CL (Leeds did once) I fear it will affect their form and ultimately they will finish outside the European places, a shame given that they are one of the most exciting Euro teams to watch without a doubt.

  • Comment number 73.

    We have a young squad which is made up of predominately British youngster, we have brought in plenty of them. I excuse my poor paragraph (written in a rush at work), please see re-written below

    We also have a young squad, that haven't all come via the we clubs youth system, but we dont have the much acclaimed system that Arsenal & Utd have. Ironically, Man City had a great one until the money came calling.

    We also don’t buy players in like other teams to fill a short term gap very often (Kranjcar being the exception, but it was only £2m) so we simply settle and get on with the job in hand. Opinionated view from someone who could really just get on with support their own club rather than talk about information that is simply on true.

    The young players are there Huddlestone, Lennon, Bale, Danny Rose, Townsend, Walker, Naughton. Most of which are either in the first XI or been on loan to gain the experience required. I accept that we haven't got a strong youth system and never really have.

    My issue was that around the financial stability of the club, we are not a flash in the pan. We have been building for the success and as we all know you can do it one of two ways, the Arsenal and Utd way which has class about it (bring players on) or can do it the other way which is fairly unclassy like Chelsea and Man City. I wouldn’t consider ourselves the later but of a club that is trying to establish ourselves with young talent that has been nurtured but from a slightly older age and not from day 1 of a footballers career, we don’t spend hundreds of millions of pounds and offer wages that are out of control. If we are going to look at building a side from a youth team why not use Barca as an example, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta to name but a few. You still need to build by spending and I feel Spurs have done that without putting the future of the club at risk.

    No expensive failure in there, we have spend a minimal amount in caparison to that of Utd, Chelsea and City when you consider transfer fees and wages.

  • Comment number 74.

    Agree that we need to follow this all up but for sure we are not dice with the issues that City and Chelsea which is to fund a the point that everything is too good to be true before the owner gets bored and their focus goes somewhere else.

    Man City will never ever make the money they have lost back, no matter how successful they are, that can only serve to damage the club in the long run. Their operating costs are unbelievable........scary at best.

  • Comment number 75.

    #72 - completely agree with you and that is exactly why the FA Cup exit is somewhat bitter-sweet. It also offers a very timely reminder too, ahead of AC Milan and a tough Premier League fixture list. I still believe that Manchester City are the team to catch in order to achieve 4th place and we are definitely close enough to them at the moment. If we can stay within 5 points by the time we play them, it'll be anyone's.

    Truth of the matter is, we managed to unhook Liverpool from their top 4 dominance, something that seemed to be near impossible over the past few years (fair play to Everton, but ultimately you failed) but that is just the first step on the ladder of the power shift. All we have now is a situation where Liverpool (just wait until April and see where they are), Tottenham and Manchester City will fight for 4th place each season with the future threat from Newcastle and Aston Villa, perhaps.

    Much as I would love Tottenham to be the one's that secure 4th place this season, the reality is that it needs to be absolutely anyone but Liverpool. That will consolidate the first shift in power and will keep the top 3 looking over their shoulders.

    Of course, it's still early days in this season. Perhaps we will see back to back seasons with a big four falling from grace? I very much doubt it, but Chelsea need to go on a pretty big unbeaten run if they are to remove the doubt.

  • Comment number 76.

    Im sick of hearing people saying that Harry has left clubs in debt due to massive signings and inflated wages. Redknapp doesn't even carry out the transfers at Spurs so that cannot occur, clubs sanction transfer fees, wages etc knowing full well what they are entering themselves into. At the end of the day it's a Chief Execs job to make sure that a football club is being ran currectly, hence why Mr Levy deals with all transfer activity himself. This way the only person to blame for a bad signing e.g Darren Bent is the chairman, when this occurred he got as much money out of Sunderland as he could to re-coup his cash. Redknapp is by far and away the best English manager out there and has to be a shoe in for the England job

  • Comment number 77.

    Here's an idea, fellow Spurs...If/when Arry leaves to manage England in 18 months time, how about Sparky to replace him? I think Hughes could do quite a job at the Lane.

    http://thechinbeardboy.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 78.

    completely agree with you and that is exactly why the FA Cup exit is somewhat bitter-sweet. It also offers a very timely reminder too, ahead of AC Milan and a tough Premier League fixture list. I still believe that Manchester City are the team to catch in order to achieve 4th place and we are definitely close enough to them at the moment. If we can stay within 5 points by the time we play them, it'll be anyone's.
    ---------------------------

    I actually wonder whether a cup exit might not be a blessing in disguise? However Tottenham have a very proud history in the cup and their fans love it, so I doubt too many will be happy with it, especially given the easy draws handed to Man U and Arsenal - although I wouldn't be surprised to see Arsenal screw it up - how many times can Fabregas come on to rescue us?

  • Comment number 79.

    I don't know why people are treating this as some kind of major shock.

    Fulham, who are decent at home, beat a Tottenham side that are only 12 points above them in the league, and who have thrown in some terrible away performances this season.

    OK, the scoreline may raise some eyebrows, but that is easily explained by the fact that Spurs were playing with 10-men for 75 minutes, and 2-0 down at the time !

    I'm pretty sure teams like Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea would have suffered under those circumstances.


    In reality, what this result means ( although optimistic Spurs fans won't admit it ), is that Tottenham's season has now boiled down to just attempting to finish 4th.

    In a way, this could be beneficial to them.

  • Comment number 80.

    I concur 76, I made a comment earlier on today about the same thing.......post 53. Its frustrating isnt it?!

  • Comment number 81.

    43. At 12:40pm on 31 Jan 2011, PetShopBoys_Forever wrote:

    I wouldn't say Inter Milan are group stage chaff somehow and they beat them at WHL and Werder Bremen and FC Twente aren't exactly rubbish either
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I think most people thought it was a tough group, on paper, when it was drawn.

    But to look at these things retrospectively, then it is clear that the group wasn't that tough.

    Inter under Benitez weren't exactly firing on all cylinders: 7th in Serie A, lost to Chievo, drew with Brescia and Lecce.

    Werder Bremen are 3 points off the drop in the Bundesliga, and have only won 1 game away from home all season ( against the bottom club ).
    This probably makes them on a par with teams such as Wolves, Wigan or Birmingham.

    FC Twente are decent enough, but would probably only be a lower mid-table EPL side.

  • Comment number 82.

    As opposed to Arsenal's intensely difficult group of Braga (7th in Portugese League) Partizan Belgrade (top of theirs but probably mid-table English league standard) and Shaktar Donetsk (same as Partizan)

    Saying Arsenal had a more difficult group is a bit of an exaggeration

  • Comment number 83.

    As opposed to Arsenal's intensely difficult group of Braga (7th in Portugese League) Partizan Belgrade (top of theirs but probably mid-table English league standard) and Shaktar Donetsk (same as Partizan)

    Saying Arsenal had a more difficult group is a bit of an exaggeration
    ------------------------

    2 teams top of their league, and Donetsk with an invincible home record .... not sure you made your point there ...

  • Comment number 84.

    82. At 4:24pm on 31 Jan 2011, PetShopBoys_Forever wrote:

    I am neither an Arsenal nor a Spurs fan !

    I agree that Arsenal's group was easier, but that doesn't alter the fact that Spurs' group, on paper, looked better than it actually turned out to be.


    Also, I'd disagree with you in saying that Partizan and Shakhtar are comparable teams, as I think Shathtar ( despite their drubbing away to Arsenal ) are a level above Partizan.

  • Comment number 85.

    had this result come in the league rather than the fa cup i wud hav been more surprised, nevertheless being beaten 4-0 by anyone is a ridiculous result especially for a team of tottenham's form this season, if they are going to become a big club and challenge for the title in the coming years and establish themselves as a top 4 club then results like this cannot happen, however it may give the players some rest with champions league matches coming up and the premier league reaching a hectic schedule, however tottenham need 2 win a trophy soon if they ar to establish themselves as a top team and the fa cup would have been the perfect opportunity to do that but maybe they wil concentrate more strongly on that next year as i dont believe that they wil qualify for th champions league next year as chelsea's poor run of form seems to have gone. However i believe that tottenham and man city have booted liverpool ut of the top five or six teams in the league and i dont think that liverpool wil get back there especially if torres leaves, gerrard and carragher ar coming to the end of their careers, the future does not look bright at anfield and players ar wanting to go 2 tottenham and man city rather than liverpool and that shud tell u everything, tottenham and man city ar on the up whereas liverpool ar going the opposite way.

  • Comment number 86.

    I have no axe to grind at all here and am completely neutral.

    Having said that, what a woeful performance from a very expensively assembled Spuds team!

    The cracks have been there all season, if anyone had cared to examine the performances. The team switches off for large portions of the game and makes endless defensive errors, so the recent run of poor results shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

    Arsenal, Chelsea and to a lesser extent Man Utd., have all been poor this season, it's been a real opportunity for Spuds, Pool and City to battle it out for CL football. It's been a missed opportunity for all but City, who finally seem to be a team and I'll wager won't lose that top 4 spot for a long, long time.

    The panic buttons have been hit by Chelsea, Spuds and Pool, as we see them now clamouring around for strikers and play-makers that could make the difference in the second half of the season.

    Harry waving his cheque-book at anyone with a pair of football boots... 50 million for Torres? Loving the Pool splashing 35 million on Carroll, too.

    Desperation, anyone?

    Wouldn't it have been better to run your clubs properly from the start?

    Thanks Mr Wenger, we salute you for sparing us this humiliating farce!


    Byeeeeeeeee xxxxx

  • Comment number 87.

    @9

    Geez, talk about venom! It amuses me how Tottenham blogs always seem to get hijacked by bitter Arsenal fans. Yes, I know they are your derby rivals, but you never miss an opportunity to put them down. I always get the impression that such hatred is actually veiling something else: fear. Is the thought that Spurs are on the up really that terrifying to you? Do you perhaps think that finally your place as North London's No1 team is under threat again? Yes, Arsenal may be a 'bigger' team, but if success is measured by results then I think that the honours are pretty even at the moment, with the Gunners barren spell of trophies stretching to 4 years (though as you rightly point out they are the only English team left in all competitions). Anyway, back to my original point, can Arsenal fans not put their mysogenistic views aside for once, and appreciate the corner that Spurs seem to have turned? Or are you simply petrified that if their upward march continues then you might be overshadowed? Derbies and rivalries should be celebrated, but not with outdated bigotry. As a Blackburn fan I was always fond of Burnley blogs last season, and was happy for their brief return to the PL, if for no other reason than that derbies are always spicy. Other than that I always wish them the best. Banter is one thing, mindless hatred quite another.

  • Comment number 88.

    Should have been 6 - 0 if not for the Spurs keeper...

    Just one bad day at the office for Harry, it happens..and is not the Premiership it's the FA cup..which the mighty whites will play and beat manure in the final..

    You saw it here first..

  • Comment number 89.

    Worth noting that Steve Sidwell was anonymous in his own presence so lamentable is his talent.Why on earth Hughes saw fit to pay good money on such a calamatous serial failure surely must bring into question his sense of judgement especially when the likes of Ireland and Kranjcar are floating about.i cannot think of a worse midfield player in this division other than perhaps Jenas.

  • Comment number 90.

    Tottenham have 3 decent strikers but no great ones.

    that sums up the main problem at white hart lane. how many goals has Defoe scored against the really BIG teams. 5 against Wigan is all well and good but a couple versus Man U would be handier

  • Comment number 91.

    Hi Phil,

    My apologies that this is so off-topic, but something that I would really like to know regarding Premiership football is this:

    Manchester (City and Borough) has a population of roughly 465000 and happily accommodates two Premiership football teams.

    Liverpool has a population of roughly 435000 (not hugely different from Manchester) but only seems able to support Liverpool, with Everton seeming almost permanently skint. Why are Everton so skint compared with the rest of the Premier League? Even newly promoted teams seem able to do more in the transfer window than Everton. Why?

    (the population stats are from Wikipedia and were collected around 2008 so will be slightly out of date, but hopefully not enough to be unrepresentative)

  • Comment number 92.

    "can Arsenal fans not put their mysogenistic views aside for once..."

    I'm afraid I really don't know what you mean. If it's 'misogynistic', then I confess to being a tad bewildered, as it seems rather inappropriate in this instance... unless the Spurs squad aren't telling us something?


    Seriously though, Totters do seem to have rounded a corner and can now consider themselves challengers for the top 4 spot (at least for the first half of the season). I think this is good for the premier league and should be applauded.

    Well done, Spuds! Well done!

  • Comment number 93.

    @92

    Ha. Point taken. I honestly don't know what I was thinking. Clearly I've been spending too much time reading about the Sky Sports sexism saga. My apologies also for the abysmal spelling. * hangs head in shame *

  • Comment number 94.

    Again looking at people praising Harry 'wheeler dealer' Redknapp. Not a great manager, and been suspected of defrauding 3 of his previous clubs for money as well as dabbling with agenty backhanders.

    Also to his ability at finding gems of players for cheap (van der vaart being the only example i can think of) Are people serious. He inherited a good team (almost great) when he took over and yet despite spending as much as man city the team just isn't consistent enough.

    That said i really enjoy watching tottenham play. Goals at both ends usually and they try to play in the vein of the Barcelonas and arsenals with their football.

    I do also believe that if harry realises his weaknesses and replaces gomes and 3 of the back 4, he would be looking at winning the league. Essentially Spurs have the same problem as arsenal (i am an arsenal fan)
    Great going forward but with an idiot in goal and 4 idiots in front of him we will not win many trophies.

    Hope that besides the redknapp rant that wasnt to biased. (Did enjoy the 4-0)



  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    Keep writing about Spurs please Phil! Seeing as whenever you write about a team they get blighted I would appreciate it ;)

    Jokes aside, teams get run over in cup matches all the time, not that big a deal. Even if I got a chuckle because of the result it'll probably be better for their lot, but let's hope not...

  • Comment number 97.

    Spurs business model appears to be selling players for profit which in my view is unsustainable if they want to be a successful club.

    They cannot compete with the revenue generated by Man Utd and Arsenal, or the deep pockets of Man City and Chelsea, so this years foray into Champions League football will more than likely be their last for some time.

    Moving to a new stadium should help them in the long run but during the redevelopment additional debt will also have a negative effect on their profitability and player acquisitions, and ultimately their chances of on field success.

    I predict that Bale will be sold in the summer and that Redknapp will go within the next couple of years. Not a good time to be a Spurs fan.

  • Comment number 98.

    don't know if this means anything on the larger scale other than an off day for spurs and an on day for Fulham. Fulham are not that good usually, Spurs not that bad. I can remember Liverpool hammering United one season and still finishing second best...and look at them now!

  • Comment number 99.

    I wouldn't say for a second Harry Redknapp is a "genius". And you certainly cite the signing of Van Der Vaart as evidence either. He had no part to play in that at all. Van Der Vaart's club phoned him up and said "do you want him for £8m?". Harry said "yes". That is not shrewd or clever. It's dumb luck.

    He also only has himself to blame for being light in defense. If he keep relying on cripples he is always going to run out of bodies to put at the back. Similarly a lightweight midfield. If he's going to start Lennon, Modric and Pienaar he's going to lose any physical battles in midfield. These things aren't bad luck, they his mistakes.

    And lets be honest, anyone could have come in and got results out of that Spurs squad. They were losing games with a bench full of players most teams would have killed to have in their starting eleven. Any competant manager could have done what he did. And then all his done since then is spend large amounts of money. Again, anyone can do that. I've yet to see any "magic" from him at all.

    Compare his achievements to Holloway's at Blackpool and in the context of their relative positions at the time and budgets, Harry has done absolutely nothing.

    On Fulham, do not expect our form to continue. We cannot rely on Andy Johnson to score hat-fulls of goals. The number of sitters he's missed since coming back is comical. He's scored one goal, which was a speculative shot from distance which took a big deflection, and made one or two runs where he's actually got on the end of a ball. Most of the time he's nowhere near it, but fools people into thinking he's "industrious" because he runs so much. The problem is his runs are 90% ineffectual.

    The signings of Gudjonsson and Kakuta on loan should prove useful, if Hughes actually uses them and doesn't relegate them to bench players. Time will tell if we can keep scoring goals.

    And yes, as someone said above, we really need to start using all of our "promising youth players". Otherwise the current squad will retire and the youngsters will have no experience.

  • Comment number 100.

    It's time to remove the kid gloves and exclude the left-wing from involvement in this sphere and smash these gangs with an iron fist. As a tax payer...., I want a break in the money I contribute to people either too lazy or too stupid to figure out a better more harmonious and productive way to lead their lives.
    .........

 

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