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Spurs face crunch after Euro exit

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Phil McNulty | 01:24 UK time, Thursday, 14 April 2011

White Hart Lane

Jose Mourinho continues to flirt outrageously with England by describing the Premier League as his "natural habitat". Now Harry Redknapp and Tottenham must make the Champions League their second home.

Mourinho makes no secret of his intention to return to the scene of great personal success once his work at Real Madrid is done.

And as the former Chelsea boss turns his attention to four games in 18 days against Barcelona following a 5-0 aggregate win over Spurs, Redknapp will attempt to fashion a finish to the domestic campaign that ensures White Hart Lane can savour Champions League football again next season.

Tottenham's adventure, which had started in Berne, effectively ended in the Bernabeu last week, a 4-0 defeat virtually rendering the second leg a dead rubber.

Any hope they may have had of securing a victory in front of their own fans on Wednesday was dashed when goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes gifted Cristiano Ronaldo the winner.

Gomes hands Real Madrid victory in the second leg. Photo: AFPGomes hands Real Madrid victory in the second leg. Photo: AFP

And yet the warm applause sweeping around White Hart Lane at the final whistle was deserved appreciation for a switchback ride of a campaign that opened with a mighty scare against Young Boys but was followed by golden nights against Inter and AC Milan.

The Champions League is addictive, so Spurs and their supporters will not want to go without it now they have sampled its potency.

Gareth Bale's destruction of Inter's Maicon in November has been immortalised on the stalls along the Seven Sisters Road, from a cartoon of the Welshman ordering a taxi for the celebrated Brazilian to a giant image of the Spurs player surging through a posse of defenders on the night the Serie A side simply could not cope.

No-one strode up Bill Nicholson Way or Paxton Road on Wednesday seriously expecting a miracle against Real - and none came. Mourinho is not the man you want to see stepping off the opposition's team coach first when you are attempting to claw back a four-goal deficit.

Tottenham never threatened to perform one of football's great modern miracles but there were flashes of the brilliance that has lit up the Champions League this season.

Bale occasionally tore down Real's right side to trouble Sergio Ramos in a manner that echoed his performance against Inter, with one surge of pace and power prompting even Mourinho to turn to his support staff and puff out his cheeks in admiration.

And Luka Modric, the gifted Croatian midfielder, showed he lives comfortably alongside technicians such as Xabi Alonso when it comes to range of passing and movement, not to mention an ability to work the tight angles and margins.

Spurs now have seven Premier League games to mirror what they achieved last season and beat Manchester City to a top four place. That will be no easy task, as Redknapp was only too keen to point out.

"The aim now is to get more next season," he said. "We have seen some great football at White Hart Lane - and away as well. It has been a wonderful experience. To play as we have and to have gone as far as we have has been great for everyone.

"I think we have always had the desire to get back in next season but it is not going to be easy. Manchester City finished a couple of points behind us last season and then went out and spent £150m to try to finish above us this year. It's difficult."

Champions League qualification is crucial to maintaining the momentum built up at Tottenham by Redknapp and there will be real disappointment if the experiences of this season are not repeated next time around.

Redknapp will require - and presumably demand - reinforcements to push his squad even closer to the Premier League summit. A quality striker and a keeper to put pressure on the erratic Gomes are priorities but chairman Daniel Levy is far less likely to sanction lavish spending without the riches that the Champions League can offer.

Crucially, Spurs will also be in better shape to keep their top players happy, reject offers and lure quality additions if they are in the Champions League. This is why the coming weeks are so vital for Redknapp and the club.

The manager joked about Mourinho's warm embrace for Bale at the final whistle, quipping that Spurs "may have to report" the Portuguese. But there is no question that Europe's bigger clubs will regard the Wales youngster as easier prey if Spurs are on the outside looking in when it comes to the Champions League.

Jose Mourinho shakes the hand of Gareth Bale. Photo: APJose Mourinho shakes the hand of Gareth Bale. Photo: AP

The rest of the season will do much to shape Tottenham's future but they have delivered plenty to be proud of this season already. They have brought verve and unpredictability to the Champions League, especially when enlivening a group stage that has occasionally verged on tedium in recent years.

Those experiences will drive Redknapp and his players through to the climax of the season as they pursue more European glory, glory nights at White Hart Lane.

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Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Tottenham have done fantastically well in their first punt in the Champions League - well done to them - don't think they will make it for next season though. What about that 'perfect' draw for the semi's - conspiracy anyone?

  • Comment number 2.

    Always going to be a struggle after the 1st leg. Spurs have definitely exceeded expectations and should be able to push on. With Man City on the slide they could knick that 4th spot and with a 2 or 3 quality additions could well match what they have done in this years competition in the following seasons!

  • Comment number 3.

    So proud of my team, hope for more of the same next season!! Will never forget the Milan games, in my mind the memories of that are priceless!!! OH WHEN THE SPURS...

  • Comment number 4.

    Spurs had a fantastic season in the Champions League but, unfortunately, what will be remembered from them, worldwide, is their constant attempt to dive for a penalty, last night. It was blatant, it was cheap and it left a sour taste in the mind - this match has been viewed by half the planet perhaps.

    I was very much interested to see how Real Madrid deal with Bale and Lennon, attacking both from each flank. Double marking is the easy thought but what about the gaps. What gaps? Alonso was there, behind the central defenders, when a break was attempted by either Bale or Lennon, to cover for those gaps. Question answered.

  • Comment number 5.

    "A sour taste in the mind"? And from one that usually talks such sense!

  • Comment number 6.

    I have to say i have enjoyed Spurs journey in the champions league even moreso that the entertainers (Arsenal), it was edge of the seat excitement, farcical defending at times, then irresistable attacking.

    Keeping hold of Bale and Modric will be difficult especially so if Spurs do not get 4th. I am keeping my fingers crossed they do, as i think they will offer a better advert for the EPL than City...

  • Comment number 7.

    Yes, a sour taste in the mind. Especially listening to Townsend afterwards and at half time commenting on which one was a pen. They were no pens, black ink, red or blue. They were dives and all they remind of is that infamous "prove it" and how poor this Respect refereeing is sometimes in this country.

    Spurs did have a relatively good game. Modric did show he can live competing with the best. Van der Vaart gave me the impression that he was struggling against the vibrant Real Madrid midfield. Huddlestone tried to live with the opposition while Assou-Ekotto had a very good game in my opinion. Lennon and Bale showed class when they were bursting from the flanks.

    Still though, Spurs didn't really have a striker required to win you a game and, no matter how I want to defend them, the dives were so many that made not only Murinho shake his head, speechless.

  • Comment number 8.

    I though the first half was excellent. Spurs should have had a penalty and would have had a chance if they had scored it. I don't think they were awarded it as they had dived so much in the first 10 minutes before the legitimate claim arose.

    I'm getting a bit bored hearing Harry tell us how good they are and what a good job he's done. They've invested heavily, gone out of all competitions now (the domestic cups very early) and yet we are told they've had a good season. Have they really?

  • Comment number 9.

    It was always going to be a mountain for Spurs to climb but considering their exploits at the San Siro I would not have put it past them. It was a very enjoyable game especially the first 20 or so minutes.

    It must be fantastic for Spurs fans to get to entertain teams like AC Milan and Real Madrid at WHL and certainly WHL was sounding amazing last night. Credit to Spurs for exceeding expectations and never giving up! I hope they manage to qualify for the CL again for next season.

    I get the feeling though that Spurs are still looking to sign a quality striker. The names of Forlan, Aguero, G Rossi and even Lukaku have been mentioned. Who will be coming in this summer is going to be a fun debate ;)

    Anyway well done to Spurs for their CL campaign!

  • Comment number 10.

    I heard that Harry Redknapp is going to sign Tom Daley in an attempt to help his players perform better when they get into the penalty box.

  • Comment number 11.

    Spurs definitely deserve to be at the champions league next season particularly with the way they performed and won against world class sides like Inter and AC both at home and away. Can City claim as much? Look at the way City have shaped up so far in the premier league. Glimpses of brilliance at one point, total lack of spirit at the other point. They are where they are now only because of their big money signings. I watched them in their 3-0 defeat against Liverpool and that totally summed up their campaign this year.

  • Comment number 12.

    @ 8, lintonmuir,

    Redknapp has every right to be proud of this team. He became the manager in Spurs when they were second from bottom and in less than 2 years he brought them in Champions League, where they had a terrific performance, reaching the quarter finals.

    It's not a shame to be out of all cups. It's mid April after all.
    Spurs did make signings but half of them have been bringing their old team back together. Van der Vaart and Modric didn't cost a fortune by any means.

    I wish Spurs keep Bale, Lennon and Modric.
    I wish they add quality to their defense and attack.

    They play a brand of football that's pleasing to the eye and they're a breath of fresh, attacking flair in the Premiership.

    Retaining their fourth spot in the Premiership or not, they have had already a fantastic football season.

  • Comment number 13.

    It was never going to happen but what I have always taken fom this campaign is how naturally Spurs have taken to CL football. I don't know the statistics, but I wonder if any of MU, Chelski, Arsenal, Pool, Geordies or Blackburn got anywhere near the QF in their first season.

    We really need to go on and get 4th place now. Vital !!!

  • Comment number 14.

    oh the english media does like to view things through english-rose-tinted spectacles doesn't it phil?:

    "Bale tore down Real's right side to trouble Sergio Ramos in a manner that echoed his performance against Inter, with one surge of pace and power prompting even Mourinho to turn to his support staff and puff out his cheeks in admiration.

    And Luka Modric, the gifted Croatian midfielder, showed he lives comfortably alongside technicians such as Xabi Alonso when it comes to range of passing and movement, not to mention an ability to work the tight angles and margins."

    obviously forgetting here that modric had a nightmare in the first leg (but i think he's a very good player), i'm not really sure bale was playing that day either.

    spurs didn't even score and you're making it sound like they ran rings around the madrid defence - they created one good chance all 90. and didn't seem to have a gameplan for beating real.

    not to criticise them too harshly - madrid are easily the 2nd best team in europe, the fact that they aren't barca shouldn't be held against them as much as it is, and beating them over 2 legs was always going to be a tall order, especially for a side like spurs who, let's be honest, have very little in their side to trouble a side like madrid

    well done on the campaign, and looks like an intriguing battle for 4th

  • Comment number 15.

    Quite simply a wonderful debut in the Champions League and to get to the Quarters at first time of asking is remarkable. Tottenham's emphasis on attack and the 'you score 3, we'll score 4' mentality has no doubt brought them many admirers across Europe and beyond. Well done Spurs.

  • Comment number 16.

    7. At 10:09am 14th Apr 2011, Football_UK wrote:
    Yes, a sour taste in the mind.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think the point he was making was that you usually taste with your mouth.

    On the match, Spurs huffed and puffed without ever looking like scoring, which has been our problem in general this season, especially in the league. It's been a great first season in the Champions League and to get to the quarter finals by beating Inter and AC Milan on the way will be remembered for years. However, as the article states, momentum is everything and Spurs need to finish 4th again to sustain the momentum they have built up this season. With games against Arsenal (H), and Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City all away, it's looking a tall order.

  • Comment number 17.

    It is quite telling that Spurs see getting to the quarter final of the Champions League as being successful whereas Chelsea see it as a failure.

    Juts goes to show the different aspirations of the two clubs and their fans/owners/managers.

  • Comment number 18.

    So it's actually a sour taste in your ears after listening to Townsend?

  • Comment number 19.

    Didn't watch the match and from the look of things I didn't miss anything! Must say though from the "Chief Football Writer's" point of view, how do Spurs get a red carpet blog after being bonked 5-0? Maybe I should have asked, how much did they pay you?

  • Comment number 20.

    Spurs can get that 4th Spot ahead of City as they are yet to play them and having played 1 game less. Unfortunately for them, they also have to play Arsenal & Chelsea! But again, City might be there for the taking if they are beaten by ManU this weekend.
    All to play for ..

  • Comment number 21.

    If spurs could get a few more quality players like Bale, up front and in the middle, and a better coach, their standings would definitely improve and will have a long stay at the premier league. Also out of the teams that spent the least money this season, Man Utd, Arsenal and Spurs have fared the best and much better than the teams that spent the most money.

  • Comment number 22.

    Spurs missed Crouch last night. Also Huddlestone was clearly out of his depth, he's a solid player, but this level is slightly beyond him.

    Now looking forward to four 'el classicos' and then watching ManU beat all comers to win the cup!

  • Comment number 23.

    and to try and dispell this myth of spurs playing 'attacking and attractive football' in the prem ... they've scored fewer goals this season than ANY OTHER team in the top half. drawn a blank a fair few times as well. total goals scored places them 11th in the league, hardly among the most attacking and attractive...?

  • Comment number 24.

    In regard to my previous statement (21), I actually intended to say that Spurs need a better Goal keeper and not a " better coach" because obviously Redknapp has been one of the better coaches of the premier league so far.

  • Comment number 25.

    The contrast in the quality of the top sides and Tottenham became unsettlingly apparent in these two legs. It is possibly only Bale who could command a place in the starting line up at Real and that tells it's own stroy.

    Van Der Vaart showed why he was disgarded by Real, he was unable to get into the game and looked to me, quite heavy and unfit next to the athletic Alonso, Oezil and Khedira. Huddlestone started terribly and again was one paced, slow and unable to dictate a game in the way he may do against the likes of Wolves, Stoke or Wigan.

  • Comment number 26.

    I think Spurs need to build from the back next season. Too many injury prone players at the back causing chopping and changing at the back for Spurs. Their midfield and forward line (with maybe the exception of a quality striker) can live with most of the top teams, but they have problems defensively that need to be addressed.

  • Comment number 27.

    Ekotto and Gomes are still the extreme weak links in the Tottenham side and Gallas, although performing brilliantly, had his best years behind him 2 years ago.

    Modric is good and looks great in the Premier League, but on the continent players of his type are abundant which is evident in how teams perform within Europe.

    Crouch and Defoe are decent enough players, but when neither of them have never struck more than 20 premier league goals in a single season, you have to wonder if they are top class, i'd suggest not.

    The gulf unfortunately was apparent in terms of quality, although I do credit their achievements which have been wonderful considering the squad they have.

  • Comment number 28.

    A performance to be proud of by Spurs!
    I hope they finsh above City, and in the Champions League slot.
    I however wish they will sell Bale and Modric to United.

  • Comment number 29.

    Phil

    Jose Mourinho continues to flirt outrageously with England by describing the Premier League as his "natural habitat". Now Harry Redknapp and Tottenham must make the Champions League their second home.

    They have brought verve and unpredictability to the Champions League, especially when enlivening a group stage that has occasionally verged on tedium in recent years.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Frankly Phil, if you and you're colleagues in the press spent less time acting like a virgin on prom night every time he flutters an eyelid in his direction, perhaps you wouldn't find his flirting as attractive. Or is it just that he panders to the ego's of UK journalists and they fall for it hook, line and sinker. Either way, get a grip.

    Also, presumably if Spurs became one of the 'big four' perhaps they wouldn't be quite so unpredictable. Their unpredictability comes from the seeding system, which is set up to protect the big teams and generate the most money. Shame it can't be an open draw really.

    All that aside, Spurs have been very entertaining this season and one big mistake from Crouch was their undoing. Shame really.

    The end of this season has echoes of last season with the game against Man City to come. They have the game in hand as well so that particular race could be more exciting that what happens right at the top.

  • Comment number 30.

    Such a shame that Barcelona and Real Madrid (The two best teams in Europe) are playing in the semi final rather than the final. As for Spurs, English team reaching Quarter Finals of the Champions League is to be expected, they are hardly poor relations! The real success story this year has been Schalke, hopefully they can upset the odds and meet one of the Spannish giants in the final.

  • Comment number 31.

    17. At 10:22am 14th Apr 2011, Grim Attache wrote:
    It is quite telling that Spurs see getting to the quarter final of the Champions League as being successful whereas Chelsea see it as a failure.

    Juts goes to show the different aspirations of the two clubs and their fans/owners/managers.

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

    Are you mad? This was our FIRST SEASON in the CL and we got to the semis. That surely exceeded everyones expectations. How did Chelsea, ManU, Liverpool, Arsenal, etc do in their first season?

  • Comment number 32.

    Mourinho makes no secret of his intention to return to the scene of great personal success once his work at Real Madrid is done.
    ------

    That would be Italy.

    His achievements in England are nothing compared to what he did in Italy.

    But I wouldn't expect you to report the truth on this Phil.

    He wants to come back to the UK as it's the place the press give him an easy ride!

    He doesn't "flirt outrageously with England" he flirts with our press.

  • Comment number 33.

    23. At 10:26am 14th Apr 2011, kaufman39 wrote:
    and to try and dispell this myth of spurs playing 'attacking and attractive football' in the prem ... they've scored fewer goals this season than ANY OTHER team in the top half. drawn a blank a fair few times as well. total goals scored places them 11th in the league, hardly among the most attacking and attractive...?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Spurs do plenty of attacking, it's the strikers that can't put the ball in the net. Spurs managed a combined 52 shots on goal against Blackpool and West Ham and scored 1 goal from it. Therein lies the problem, the strikers simply aren't good enough.

    25. At 10:28am 14th Apr 2011, tomefccam wrote:

    Huddlestone started terribly and again was one paced, slow and unable to dictate a game in the way he may do against the likes of Wolves, Stoke or Wigan.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To be fair to him he's been out injured for the last 4 months which is probably why he looked slow. Even so, I don't think anyone expects to be able to dictate a game against Real Madrid in the same manner that they do against dross from the bottom of the Premier League.

  • Comment number 34.

    19. At 10:22am 14th Apr 2011, BlakkMambazzz wrote:
    Didn't watch the match and from the look of things I didn't miss anything! Must say though from the "Chief Football Writer's" point of view, how do Spurs get a red carpet blog after being bonked 5-0? Maybe I should have asked, how much did they pay you?

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

    its amazing, Spuds get thrashed and are lucky to walk away with a 5-0 and get treated like they are hero's, imagine if this was Arsenal or Chelsea or City......."humiliation, out of their depth, joke, pathetic"..........Spuds are and have always been press darlings

  • Comment number 35.

    Phil, I've already told you that it's Tottenham High Road, not Seven Sisters Road. Can you read an A to Z?

  • Comment number 36.

    31. At 10:32am 14th Apr 2011, veatospurs wrote:

    Are you mad? This was our FIRST SEASON in the CL and we got to the semis.

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Erm... hate to break it to you...

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm tired of this media love in with Spurs! They got found out, didn't manage to score a goal, and were beaten comprihensively. Arsenal routinely get into the knockout stages of the Champions league, and qualify year in year out, and people critisize them heavily if they get knocked out or do not win anything.

    Spurs on the other hand get nothing but praise for their endeavour, courage, spirit, etc. Quite frankly I'm sick of it, they qualified, yes, got further than expected? Maybe, but fact remains they are in danger of not qualifying again next year, not consistent enough and havn't won any major silverwear since 1961.

  • Comment number 38.

    Haha. Typo/error made in rage! Quarters obviously.

  • Comment number 39.

    16. At 10:21am 14th Apr 2011, joe strummer wrote:

    7. At 10:09am 14th Apr 2011, Football_UK wrote:
    Yes, a sour taste in the mind.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think the point he was making was that you usually taste with your mouth.

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

    Have you ever heard the term "allegorically speaking"?

    Anyway, those incidents at the Real Madrid box are irrelevant to where Spurs go from here, really, while nobody can say that Spurs had not had a fantastic season in the 2010-11 season.

    To me, as a football fan, it is more important where Spurs can go from here.

    I could argue that two lessons have been learned by Spurs, this season:
    a) it is great when you manage to top your group in the group stages of Champions League;
    b) When participating in Champions League football, you have to find a way to get past those tricky Premiership fixtures before and after Champions League fixtures - I believe Spurs have been hurt in that front, this season.

    The headache Levy faces, I believe, is how he makes it possible that the club sells 60,000+ tickets on match day. The difference in revenue could provide for one quality player added to the club, every year, if you think of the added income. It is the same problem Liverpool are facing. To compete for top four in the Premiership that guarantees Champions League football and its prestige, its gates opening to quality players, plus the cash that accompanies it, you need a stadium that has a capacity beyond 60,000 seats.

    I believe, when they address that problem, they will find longevity at the top rather easier to live with.

    I wouldn't like Modric, Bale, Lennon, Van der Vaart to move on. Spurs have shown a good bonding as a team, this season. Keep them together and they can move forward. It's going to be interesting to see how the players and the club react in the summer, in transfers season.

    Good luck to Spurs for the rest of the season. They added to beautiful football memories from this season, already, a great deal.

  • Comment number 40.

    Spurs have done OK, let's not overhype shall we.

    Redknapp has done a decent job there spending the large asum of money he had been givenmore wisely than most would have done but the reality is that Spurs are still (as they have been for 15 years bar the odd rubbish season) a team that will finish somewhere between 4th and 8th on the EPL. Any team at that level should view the last 16 of the champions league as a minimum and the last 8 as a par.

  • Comment number 41.

    I am surprised that 'Arry didnt rest the team because forth place is more important then Europe.


    Thats what happened last year isn't it ? (or was it the year before)

  • Comment number 42.

    23. At 10:26am 14th Apr 2011, kaufman39 wrote:

    and to try and dispell this myth of spurs playing 'attacking and attractive football' in the prem ... they've scored fewer goals this season than ANY OTHER team in the top half. drawn a blank a fair few times as well. total goals scored places them 11th in the league, hardly among the most attacking and attractive...?

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

    I really don't understand what's your issue with Spurs playing beautiful football.
    They do.

    Along with United, they have the best duet of wingers in the Premiership, in my opinion, enabling themselves to attack, counter attack, using the full width of the pitch, masterfully.

    In Modric and Van der Vaart, they have two handful of midfielders that can provide both the dribbles fans love watching, plus the accurate passing game.

    In Defoe, Crouch, Pavluychenko, they have alternative solutions up front.

    Regardless of having scored less goals than top four clubs, Spurs still have a team that can play beautiful football.

  • Comment number 43.

    13. At 10:19am 14th Apr 2011, Andyspur37 wrote:

    It was never going to happen but what I have always taken fom this campaign is how naturally Spurs have taken to CL football. I don't know the statistics, but I wonder if any of MU, Chelski, Arsenal, Pool, Geordies or Blackburn got anywhere near the QF in their first season.

    We really need to go on and get 4th place now. Vital !!!

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

    For the record, here's how the English clubs did in their first seasons in the Champions League era, I think it shows that we can be proud of where Spurs got (and particularly how entertaining the ride was):

    Manchester United - Group stage (3rd in group)
    Blackburn Rovers - Group stage (4th in group)
    Newcastle United - Group stage (3rd in group)
    Arsenal - Group stage (3rd in group)
    Chelsea - Quarter finals
    Leeds United - Semi finals
    Liverpool - Quarter finals

    As for fourth place, I think we'll beat Arsenal and Man City and get at least a point at Chelsea and Liverpool. It's the games against West Brom, Blackpool and Birmingham I'm more worried about!

  • Comment number 44.

    Mourinho is surely gunning for the Man Utd job, can't see him at Arsenal, he won't be back at Chelsea, Tottenham probably don't quite have the resources to achieve his ambitions (their gunning for top 4, not top 1), Liverpool maybe, but you'd want to wait to see how they come out of crisis. Man City definately do have the resources to fund his ambition, so possibly. But it has to be him seeing Sir Alex stepping aside as he reaches 70 and Mourinho stepping into the fold.

    When Sir Alex steps down it has to be someone who can handle the pressure, step out of the shadow and make the club his own. To be honest, there's few others that could do the job. From the younger batch, I think Owen Coyle seems capable but lacks big time experience (vicious circle), Davie Moyes is stuck in a rut at Everton, Steve Bruce is decent, Mark Hughes also, Roy Keane was never really convincing, Martin O'Neills time has probably passed, Alex McLeish, can't see it, Benitez no chance, Hiddink managing at Turkey, wierd, Spanish crop, probably not, Italains, Lippi maybe, Jurgen Klopp, will have a big job, bit not in Manchester I reckon.

    Mourinho knows where he's going with his flirtation - Man U, then retirement as Portugal boss, and when he wants something he usually gets it.

  • Comment number 45.

    I enjoy your blogs Phil, but not this one! It sounds like you're just regurgitating the same rose-tinted drivel that TV pundits are spewing forth.

    Honestly, Spurs get humbled 5 - 0 by Real Madrid, and all we hear from you and others is 'Good old Spurs; weren't they plucky; didn't they do well; a campaign to be proud of'.

    Arsenal narrowly lose to Barca by one goal, and the media are on their backs 'Time for a rethink; Wenger's finished; Arsenal need new players; yet another failure' and the like.

    Imagine if that was an Arsenal goalkeeper fumbling Ronaldo's shot? The press would go to town on that and hang Wenger out to dry.

    Crouch deservedly gets sent off for two bad tackles and it's reported as 'a pity'. Van Persie gets sent off through a dreadful refereeing decision (when Arsenal were ahead in the tie), but the club gets no sympathy.

    If Spurs being dumped 5-0 and struggling to get back into next season's champions league via the top four is worthy of praise, then how about some balance and perspective on Arsenal's achievement?

    Arsenal will be in the Champions League against next season, as they have been every year with Arsene at the helm and without running up debts by foreign owners that make the competition a joke. Arsenal's achievements this season deserve more praise than their North London rivals.

    Don't follow the heard Phil.

  • Comment number 46.

    What rubbish, during Arsenal's and United's first season in the CL it was back in the nineties when english football was the 4th best league in europe/

  • Comment number 47.

    Spurs's lack of goals is more to do with the fact that they simply don't have a top-class striker to put the finishing touch to their attacking play. Looking at other top-5 clubs, Hernandez, Berbatov, Rooney, Van Persie, Chamakh, Drogba, Torres, Anelka and Tevez would all saunter into Spurs' starting XI at the moment.

  • Comment number 48.

    31, knocked out in quarters dont you mean.

  • Comment number 49.

    30. At 10:31am 14th Apr 2011, JamTay1 wrote:
    Such a shame that Barcelona and Real Madrid (The two best teams in Europe) are playing in the semi final rather than the final. As for Spurs, English team reaching Quarter Finals of the Champions League is to be expected, they are hardly poor relations! The real success story this year has been Schalke, hopefully they can upset the odds and meet one of the Spannish giants in the final
    -----------------------------

    or maybe we could be original and hope and English side wins it.....

    #35 - Phil obviously has stock phrases for both North London clubs otherwise he would know that Seven Sisters Road is mainly Arsenal territory (at least from Holloway Road to Green Lanes anyway

  • Comment number 50.

    23. At 10:26am 14th Apr 2011, kaufman39 wrote:

    and to try and dispell this myth of spurs playing 'attacking and attractive football' in the prem ... they've scored fewer goals this season than ANY OTHER team in the top half. drawn a blank a fair few times as well. total goals scored places them 11th in the league, hardly among the most attacking and attractive...?

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

    in fairness they do play good football in their opponents half but tend to hoof it route 1 from their own half, basically Wimbledon with bells on.

  • Comment number 51.

    Spurs have shown that with just one or two additions,one of which has to be a free scoring striker,that they can compete with the elite of Europe.The big question now is whether Levy will commit to that or will cash in on the success of Bale,Modric and others and in so doing signal to the fans that this year was a one off and in future Spurs must content themselves with mid table mediocrity.

  • Comment number 52.

    Arsenal fans having their bitter say again! Spurs were bottom 3 years ago, and now look at us! A meteoric rise back to the top of football! So so so proud of my team this year, if we can get 4th again it will cap an unbelievable year!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    Spurs have done well this season but they do need to clear out ALL their strikers and get in some better ones. A decent goalie with Champions League experience (Tomas Kusczak maybe) is also needed.

    But to be honest they were thrashed, humiliated and absolutely awful in this tie but then they were playing a Real Madrid side full of players with experience at this level and able to replace one former World Player of the Year with his predecessor.

  • Comment number 54.

    "Arsenal will be in the Champions League against next season, as they have been every year with Arsene at the helm and without running up debts by foreign owners that make the competition a joke. Arsenal's achievements this season deserve more praise than their North London rivals."

    1. This is about Spurs v Real Madrid second leg, Champions League quarter final (just a reminder)

    2. I've seen a kid wearing an Arsenal kit, writing B.E.P at the back.
    I had to stop him and politely ask him who the player was...

    I was impressed with the intelligent of young Arsenal fans. Stunned, to be precise!

  • Comment number 55.

    Spurs have done really well to get to the quarters. But in modern football you have to run just to stand still. They have to get 4th this season or it could all go backwards. Fast.

    I support Villa and we spent a small fortune to flirt with the top 4 spaces. We could not get it and Europa football is a fraction of money compared with CL footy, and now we are paying the cost. Now to be fair Spurs did a great job getting 4th last year ahead of Man City, us and Liverpool, but do you budget yourself to get 4th every year ? City will get 4th sooner or later with their cash and Liverpool will be stronger next season. If Spurs don't get 4th they could lose their best players and more importantly perhaps, not have the money to move to a bigger stadium. WHL is not big enough to sustain their ambitions, and I think the stadium will be the real issue for spurs in the next 5-10 years.

  • Comment number 56.

    52. At 10:54am 14th Apr 2011, spurs_7 wrote:
    Arsenal fans having their bitter say again! Spurs were bottom 3 years ago, and now look at us! A meteoric rise back to the top of football! So so so proud of my team this year, if we can get 4th again it will cap an unbelievable year!!!

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

    with Arry a cert for England you need to make the most of this time in the sun.
    I am a City fan but we aint great under Mancini, its 50/50 between us and Spuds as you have harder games.

    But once Arry does a runner you will probably be back to mid table.

  • Comment number 57.

    my tip is for Mourinho to take over at the Lane after Harry. He's already managed the biggest clubs in the world with huge budgets and been successful, that won't offer a challenge to him anymore.

    Spurs will look very appealing to him...

  • Comment number 58.

    Obviously it was very dispointing to go out losing again and not scoring but I thought our performance was good. I must admit in the first five minutes with us struggling to get on the ball and Real looking to make camp in our half, I thought "here we go again". But we got our own game going and looked the better of the sides on the night.

    The biggest positive of the night was how great our fans were once again. I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the game last night and it was the fans that made it something really special. Even after Gomes' howler he still got a song as we went through our repetoir after the goal managed to silence us, even if it was only for a couple of minutes.

    Regardless of the outcome for fourth this season, I would consider this season a fantastic success for Spurs and me personally. My Dad has not been well over the past year or so but I was able to take him to our first Champions league home game against Young Boys. A small payback for the many games he took me to as a kid. We even had a flutter on the final score, as I was going for 4-1 I suggested he went for 4-0, which paid for a good few drinks after. I have numerous other great memories from our games in this competition, which I hold as far more important than who went further Spurs/Aresenal, or will Bale stay for another season.


    That said, I would rather like to do it all over again..

  • Comment number 59.

    They were entertaining, but I do think their performance against Inter was put into context by unheralded Schalke's thorough dismantling of the Italians They were miles away from troubling Madrid, at least as far as Arsenal were against Barca.

    Modric may have been better last night but he was beyond poor in Madrid, Van der Vaart after an electric start to the season has started to demonstrate perhaps why Spurs didn't have much competition for his signature, he looks unfit.

    Redknapp has spent a fair chunk of money assembling a huge squad but there's only really Bale and perhaps Modric and Van der Vaart on a good day that would trouble the selectors of a top 5 best 11.

  • Comment number 60.

    BEP ?


    Bureau of Engraving and Printing

    http://www.moneyfactory.gov/aboutthebep.html

  • Comment number 61.

    Well done to Spurs, what a great ride it's been!

    And I never realised just how bitter Arsenal fans were. This was the first time Tottenham have every played in this competition, and did very well against great world class sides in Inter and AC Milan, and deserved to be praised. Maybe if it was the tenth year running they'd been knocked out and not won it, like Arsenal, then the praise wouldn't be forth-coming. Oh and Spurs got a round further on their first attempt, than their local rivals, that's probably what's so gauling, that and they played attractive, attacking football and were actually exciting to watch. During the group stages, Man U and Chelsea were grinding out dull 1-0 wins, and the next night spurs were in breathless 4-3's edge of your seat stuff.

    If you can't see why a team that everyone wrote off in the summer doesn't derserve some praise for achieving what they have, when none of the English regulars can win the competition, then I think you need some sugar with your grapes!

    Whether they qualify next year (which I think lots of people europe wide will want - or its back to boring champs league again) or not, they've been a breath of fresh air in this competition... but i guess i'd be choking too if we'd been on for the quadruple and now had nothing to play for...

  • Comment number 62.

    "1. This is about Spurs v Real Madrid second leg, Champions League quarter final (just a reminder)"

    Ah yes, that's the match Spurs lost 0-1, making the aggregate score 0 - 5. Yes, I remember it now. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Comment number 63.

    @33 Joe Strummer

    To be fair, during those 4 months he could have worked on his fitness without kicking a ball. No this won't get you match fit, but it might remove some of the excess timber he is still carrying.

    To also be fair, 4-0 down, looking for goals...if he is not match fit then why not play Krancjar through the middle. A terrific player, better than Huddlestone - maybe not as defensive but when you're desperately chasing a 4-0 defecit you need attack minded players.

    Without CL Football Bale and Modric will move on. The honeymoon period for Van Der Vaart appears to be over so unless players are brought in then Tottenham are on a downward spiral. Bassong, Kaboul, Woodgate and King are more or less useless because they cannot stay fit enough to play an extended period of games. Gallas is past his best, and Ekotto and Gomes are weak points in the team

  • Comment number 64.

    60. At 11:00am 14th Apr 2011, Jesus the Teddy Bear wrote:

    BEP ?


    Bureau of Engraving and Printing

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

    Nah, Break Even Point :-)

  • Comment number 65.

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

  • Comment number 66.

    With this love in for Spurs and 'onest 'arry, you'd think that they'd gone on a run of Fulham-esque proportions, fighting the odds with a small team.

    Nobody ever notices the sums of money Redknapp has at his disposal. Since his arrival they've easily spent more money than United or Arsenal, maybe even Chelsea. And Harry gets praised like he's some legendary wheeler dealer. Fourth spot shouldn't even be an option.

  • Comment number 67.

    Man Utd fan here. Spurs did their fans proud and the fans did their players proud.

    Obviously i hope you guys get 4th place and qualify for next years CL over City, not for the obvious reasons but more due to the fact that Spurs actually have the right mentality for European games. Even though they were never likely to win, Spurs battled on and were unlucky not to score.

    Well done Spurs.

  • Comment number 68.

    It is a tad unfair pointing the finger at Modric in the tie against Real Madrid. In truth, he was a lonesome figure struggling a vibrant midfield opposition, full of speedy, accurate, quality opponents. Spurs have been quality this season, but don't "demand" them to be better than a Real Madrid that has collected there the cream of world football. Some common sense is nice to see from time to time.

    Regarding Murinho, that I would never like to see managing United, I have to admit that, no matter how much I dislike him as a manager, he has put his stamp already in the Real Madrid team.

    They operate as a unit. They are so lively in midfield, full of energy, both while pressing forward or defending. Don't forget Di Maria hasn't played yesterday.

    Having Real Madrid looking so lively, we do have to hand it to Spurs for matching them, up to a point. Many will blame Gomez but the goal didn't really change the game; it only changed the rhetorics.

  • Comment number 69.

    #47... Chamakh?!

  • Comment number 70.

    @63 Krancjar is even less mobile than Huddlestone when in the midfield. Starting Tommy WAS the attacking option, Krancjar and Modric in midfield was the suicide option.

    Kaboul was unfortunate this season picking up one injury just as he cameback for another. I don't think Bassong has been injured at all this season so I'm not sure what you're getting at with him.

    Yes Modric and Bale may leave but where on earth has this certainty that they will leave come from? They're both young with time on their side and Modric in particular has been talking postively about next season, regardless of CL football.

  • Comment number 71.

    31. At 10:32am 14th Apr 2011, veatospurs wrote:

    17. At 10:22am 14th Apr 2011, Grim Attache wrote:
    It is quite telling that Spurs see getting to the quarter final of the Champions League as being successful whereas Chelsea see it as a failure.

    Juts goes to show the different aspirations of the two clubs and their fans/owners/managers.

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

    Are you mad? This was our FIRST SEASON in the CL and we got to the semis. That surely exceeded everyones expectations. How did Chelsea, ManU, Liverpool, Arsenal, etc do in their first season?

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

    Not as mad as thinking Spurs got to the semis!

  • Comment number 72.

    #1 - How the hell is it a conspiracy? How is a semi-final between Real and Barcelona a conspiracy? Surely a final between them would. Idiot

  • Comment number 73.

    "Oh and Spurs got a round further on their first attempt, than their local rivals, that's probably what's so gauling".

    LOL. I'm loving this. Are Spurs fans really feeling triumphant because they've had a flirt with the big boys and lost? Good grief, it must be desperate at the Lane.

    Look, let's stop being bitchy . . .

    I will concede that Spurs did well to reach the quarters and had some exciting times on the way.

    I will forgive the media their sycomphantic praise - to be fair, I guess they'd do the same if one of your peers (Sunderland, Everton, Bolton etc) made it to the Champions League knock out stage.

    So fair play to you; it's been really exciting for you and I'm pleased for you. Because it has been so good I guess Spurs will bring out a DVD. If they do, I'll watch it.

  • Comment number 74.

    Modric stated in an interview yesterday that he's going to stay anyway. Why say that if he wanted to move? It would just cause hassle for himself. And Bale signed a new contract the other week. if he does go we'll be able to use the ridiculously inflated transfer market prices to get about £45m for him.

  • Comment number 75.

    69. At 11:14am 14th Apr 2011, a01chtra wrote:

    #47... Chamakh?!

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

    Chamakh and Bendtner are wonderful, world class strikers!
    Myself, being a United fan, I feel so jealous but, also being a fair football fan, I hope they keep them until they reach 37, like Giggs and Scholes at United. They would give an awful lot of tips and experience to the next generations of Arsenal talent.
    And the same goes to Koncielny, Squillaci and Djourou who have blended in a defense priding themselves to be the equal second defense in the country!

  • Comment number 76.

    69. At 11:14am 14th Apr 2011, a01chtra wrote:

    #47... Chamakh?!

    __________________________________________________________________

    Defoe?!

    Pavlyuchenko?!

    Crouch?!


    ...yes, Chamakh.

  • Comment number 77.

    The English press caught sniffing Mourinho's knickers again I see.

  • Comment number 78.

    #69 - point the finger at Jose after all he was the one who told Crouch that his defensive skills and slide tackles were overlooked

    (you'll have to watch last weeks Special 1 TV for reference)

    Seriously Crouch getting sent off didn't really make it easy but I think Madrid would have won anyway but by a lower score

  • Comment number 79.

    Also, #66/other mistaken finance-buffoons, you'd do well to notice that Spurs spend less money than Arsenal thanks to the best wage-turnover ratio in the league.

    In 2007/8 (the most recent stats I could find), Spurs had a ratio of 46% compared to Arsenal's 48%; and spent £48m less on wages.

    We also didn't spend £48m buying players, in case you're confused. Spurs are very prudent, we spend within our means. It's why I'm worried about Levy selling us on with a juicy new stadium... Got to keep wages down!

  • Comment number 80.

    Spurs are the media darlings because the British love the underdog - I'm surprised those complaining about the rose tinted "Spurs-Specs" haven't grasped that.

    Once they had scraped past Young Boys (that was their only real pressure fixture) they had had nothing to lose and so played with a freedom that allowed them to get fantastic results against the likes of Inter and AC.

    If they get in next year they will be under pressure to at least emulate this season. I doubt they will get past the last 16.

  • Comment number 81.

    Football_UK,

    Arsenal shirt with B.E.P?

    Bequeathing England Players?

  • Comment number 82.

    This will be a flash in the pan from Tottenham. I'm not saying that to be nasty, but the way they got utterly dismantled by a better team suggests they can't cope with the elite. They won't qualify for next season's competition and that will be that. Strikers aren't good enough, defence isn't good enough bar Dawson, goalkeeper isn't good enough. Great attacking midfield and wingers, but needs big supplementation. Massive depth in the squad but not the required quality all round. The manager is tactically naive. They'll go back to being what they always were: mid-table to nearly men.

  • Comment number 83.

    72. At 11:18am 14th Apr 2011, jaydrawmer wrote:
    #1 - How the hell is it a conspiracy? How is a semi-final between Real and Barcelona a conspiracy? Surely a final between them would. Idiot
    ------------------------------

    Depend's on whose conspiracy it is. If it is Fergies or or anyone who doesn't wet themselves over Barca and thinks Real can beat them but don't want Jose to win the trophy again and think United or Schalke can turn them over in the showpiece.

    (or the guy who does the draw has a tenner on a Fergie vs Special 1 final)

  • Comment number 84.

    67. At 11:11am 14th Apr 2011, Ive_got_a_pet_snail wrote:
    Man Utd fan here. Spurs did their fans proud and the fans did their players proud.

    Obviously i hope you guys get 4th place and qualify for next years CL over City, not for the obvious reasons but more due to the fact that Spurs actually have the right mentality for European games. Even though they were never likely to win, Spurs battled on and were unlucky not to score.

    Well done Spurs.

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

    or put another way "we dont see you as a threat in any way shape or form, keep up the good work Arry"

  • Comment number 85.

    #79 - Spurs do spend a lot of cash but Levy also strikes a decent deal when selling so NET SPEND is not as high as other clubs (sorry Rafa)

  • Comment number 86.

    Spurs must finish 4th. If they don't then Bale and Modric will be gone along with any hopes of top four the following season.

  • Comment number 87.

    79. At 11:25am 14th Apr 2011, a01chtra wrote:

    "Spurs spend less money than Arsenal thanks to the best wage-turnover ratio in the league."

    Crikey, Spurs have the best wage-turnover ratio in the league! Now that is impressive. They must bring out a DVD for that!

    Sorry, I'm being bitchy again. If you haven't got up to date stats you'll have plenty of time on Tuesday and Wednesday nights next season to do some research. Don't diary anything in for a Thursday night though my friend, you might be busy watching channel 5 . . .

  • Comment number 88.

    Excuse Me: Did spurs not go further than Arsenal in the Champs League.
    Gooner fans are bitter. They have every right to. They will not reach this far for the next couple of years.


  • Comment number 89.

    I think we have performed very well in the CL, but last night was disappointing. Nothing to lose, I expected hell-for-leather football, plenty of goals, but some at our end. What we got was hardly a shot at goal worth talking about, with RM closing us down in a way that we neither had the ability or inclination to do. Their GK had a much quieter night than he would have expected.

  • Comment number 90.

    Spurs can feel very proud of reaching the last eight and the entertaining football they played, but the weaknesses were there for all to see. First the goalkeeper is unreliable. Corluka played OK but lacks pace to support the attack, so I hope Walker is given a real chance next season. Centre backs OK and Ekotto was brilliant last night, as he always is when he concentrates properly. Sandro looks a good holding partner for Modric and Huddlestone can be excused a below average game after four months absence. Bale and Lennon were dangerous and potent but world class strikers are needed to make the step up.

  • Comment number 91.

    Hard to know where to begin. The tie effectively ended in the first leg when Madrid had to win and did so at a canter. The so called quality players at Spurs hardly touched the ball.
    Fast forward to the second leg and Madrid, knowing the tie was over, adopted a let's not get booked or injured approach to the game. This allowed Spurs to have more of the ball and by default look better than they did in Spain.
    So after one excursion in the Champions League they are up there with Everton in having qualified once. Europa Cup obscurity beckons next year yet we are expected to laud this team as some sort of trend setters. Pathetic.

  • Comment number 92.

    kanchelskis_legend, I am astounded that Chamakh wasn't a typo.

    Chamakh for Bordeaux (in the French league!!): 56 in 230; strike rate: 0.24
    Chamakh this season: 11 in 40! Strike rate: 0.275

    Defoe is recognised to have had a bad season due to injury (last season 24 goals in 43 appearances, strike rate 0.558) and this year has a comparitively woeful 7 in 23 (strike rate 0.304), Crouch gives the team an out-ball and an aerial threat and works well with VdV (and has also scored 11 in 37, strike rate 0.297) and Pavlyuchenko has scored 11 as well, in 29 games (strike rate 0.379).

    You'll notice that each and every one of Tottenham's strikers, each having a bad season, has a better strike rate than Chamakh.

    Chamakh is a liability. No-one else would sign him.

  • Comment number 93.

    81. At 11:31am 14th Apr 2011, jacksofbuxton wrote:

    Football_UK,

    Arsenal shirt with B.E.P?

    Bequeathing England Players?

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

    B.E.P. : Break Even Point
    TCxCR: Ticket Cost x Capacity Ratio
    Le Dividend
    and so on :)

  • Comment number 94.

    No time to dwell on the Champions League for Spurs. they must push on. There are seven important games left in the EPL this season and the team cannot look despondent.

    What's needed now:
    Reflection on the season thus far; how far they've come.
    The players need to get together and contemplate their frailties os the season. Managers and coaches can do so much, the players must take responsibility on the pitch.
    Matches they could have won but didn't.
    To avoid defensive crisis--what the midfield can do.
    How to get the best out of 11 men on the field--what's the best formation?
    No doubt Harry will need to invest next season.
    Should VDV have started last evening?

    If the players treat the last seven games as if they were Champions league encounters then the fans are in for a treat in the next month or so.

  • Comment number 95.

    #79

    Not sure where you're getting your facts from - last year Spurs' ratio of wages to turnover was 61% - the fourth highest in the premiership behind City, Chelsea and surprisingly Aston Villa.

    When it comes to financial prudence Spurs are light years behind the Gooners.

  • Comment number 96.

    @ #39 Football UK

    not to be fussy, but I think you are misplaced and a little tenous in talking about 'allegory' in this case, to justify what is effectively just a botched metaphor.

  • Comment number 97.

    #87 Troll? Post was clearly a response to #66 "Nobody ever notices the sums of money Redknapp has at his disposal. Since his arrival they've easily spent more money than United or Arsenal, maybe even Chelsea. And Harry gets praised like he's some legendary wheeler dealer."

    There's no financial irresponsibility at Spurs; c.f. Citeh, Liverpool etc.; the high transfer spend is taken out of the context of high transfer sell-on and excellent wage management all too frequently. Spurs don't need CL football to sustain their current business model, and the money we've been spending is quite sufficient. CL is a bonus. c.f. Leeds, Aston Villa etc.

  • Comment number 98.

    Spurs biggest problem in Madrid was their inability to hold on to the ball for any sort of period. Their defenders hoofed it up for strikers to battle with. You watch United play, all their attacks start from the back (stuff that people call "boring").

    Their next biggest problem is the lack of strikers. Spurs have plenty of OK strikers, but no strikers who put half chances away regularly.

    They were out of their depth last night I'm afraid, but it's their first Champions League campaign, and all the other teams took a pasting with their first forays into the competition.

    Spurs priority for now should always be the league, so that they can establish some sort of consistent presence in the CL. Anything in the CL is a bonus, but it's a long way to go before you are competitive

  • Comment number 99.

    If Spurs dont make it into next years Champs League I would expect one or two of players to be sold. Its simple economics. Without a sugar daddy or any actual sustained or consistant success its difficult to keep up with the bigger clubs.
    We have seen it before with the likes of Newcastle and too a more severe extent Leeds. The fact of the matter is that there is a level in the Premier League that is simply not achievable without a sugar daddy with bottomless pockets or actual income based on success on the field.
    As much as I dont like Redknapp id still like to see Spurs pip Man City to that 4th spot but with Spurs run of games and their recent form I just cant see it happening.

  • Comment number 100.

    Spurs were utter rubbish over the two legs, even when they had clear cut opportunities last night the made a hash of them. If crouch hadn't got a red card, I am pretty certain Spurs would still have been well beaten over the two legs.. They were exciting at times but extremely naieve, had they come up against teams knowing how to defend a lead they wouldn't have got to the quarters... Actually I think they should have done better and would have with a better manager.

 

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