Redknapp Wins the Tactical Battle As Dreary Spurs Draw

Harry Redknapp was always a kidder. Not interested in tactics, just go out and play, enjoy yourselves lads. Do me a favour. He came out on top in the tactical battle at Loftus Road yesterday, his QPR team retreating deep into their own half to restrict the space and deny Spurs the room to play. Dull but effective. Confronted with this problem, our feeble solutions  were as effective as a Deal Or No Deal contestant who finds themselves in an episode of Mastermind by mistake.

It began well. Cesar reached up into the top righthand corner to tip Defoe’s goalbound 20 yarder onto the post, then Adebayor was fatally tentative from the rebound and the Brazilian saved again. It was as if the team shrugged collectively, said to themselves, ‘oh well, not our day’, and went through the motions for the remainder of the 90 minutes.

Redknapp’s strikerless side smothered our passing game at source. So effective was this, we were treated as early as the 35th minute to the unedifying spectacle of Dawson shooting from 35 yards. That’s how lousy our attacking efforts were today. Buses can get closer to the target than that effort.

This past week Redknapp demonstrated once again why Spurs fans have appreciated what he’s done for the team but never taken him to our hearts. A sly dig at any Chelsea manager who couldn’t come up with goods was followed by dark hints of high-level political conspiracies to remove him as Spurs boss. Then classic Harry – in the same breath as he praises Levy for being a decent bloke and calling him to wish him luck at Rangers, he makes fun of his former chairman’s transfer policy. He may have a point but there’s no sense that anything bad is ever his responsibility, at Tottenham or elsewhere. Underneath this good ol’ Uncle ‘arry schtick lies resentment and bitterness. Other managers can sidestep these questions, Redknapp can’t resist it.

At the close his extended chat with Villas Boas was presumably to reassure him that it was nothing personal. Too late. I adored some of his football and reaching the CL quarter finals from being bottom of the league is enough to rank him as a top Spurs manager. Harry, let your achievements speak for themselves, they will always sound more eloquent than you and now you’re gone, let us get on with it.

Adebayor did not repay his manager’s faith in him. Starting up front, he offered nothing. It was easy for QPR to isolate him from Defoe and the rest of his team-mates, and he has the air of a striker who knows he is out of form, waiting for the ball instead of attacking it and wanting always to take the extra touch. When he returns, he will have to work hard to dispel the thought that when City and Ars***l fans warned us that he’s a one-season wonder, they might have been correct.

A great pity as Rangers central defence is vulnerable. However they were well protected as Redknapp threw a midfield defensive blanket over Spurs. We never once got the pass and move going. QPR made the most of their limited ambitions – to be positive it’s a compliment to our status in the game currently that they feared us to the point where players and fans alike reckon a home draw against us is a cause for celebration. However, we did precious little to unsettle them. Dembele was anonymous, while Lennon and Bale were not allowed to get up a head of steam. Only Parker provided occasional bursts into danger areas which committed defenders but we made nothing of the gaps that thus appeared.

We could have done more on the wings but never established combinations between the wide men and the full-backs, never created two against ones. This was compounded by Lennon spending much of the second half on the left, which meant that we had two right-footers out there. They turned inside where Rangers gratefully gobbled them up, rather than seeking the space by the touchlines. Also, Bale’s wandering was unpredictable for the defenders but for his team-mates too. They did not know where to find him.

Spurs have made fantastic progress in a short time under Villas Boas but we don’t have the patience, wit and invention to break down a packed, well-drilled defence. The evidence is there from Stoke, Wigan and now at Loftus Road yesterday. We have to pass, make the runs and try to draw them out. Easier said than done but the League will take notice, that this is how to play us. Launching long balls from midway through the first half onwards is raising the white flag. Back to his tactics charts for our Andre.

I kept waiting for things to improve and we perked up a bit after half-time, then gradually it dawned that we were getting nothing from this one. At least we didn’t fall for any sucker punch counter, although we were helped in that respect by Wright-Phillips ability to fall over when he’s faced with a shooting chance.

We carried on, not supporting the man on the ball, who turned into his marker and was tackled, again and again. Dempsey’s overdue arrival might have sparked something but by then, we had forgotten how to pass. At least the time passed fairly quickly to the final whistle.

34 thoughts on “Redknapp Wins the Tactical Battle As Dreary Spurs Draw

  1. When you say ” we never took him to our hearts” speak for yourself.In fact the majority of Spurs fans that I know did, and would be happy to have him back..
    As for being bitter..who the hell can blame him? We still don’t know why in his infinite wisdom,Levy got rid of a Manager that got us to our highest league position in a long long time,and replaced him with a guy who was a total failure at Chelsea. It still makes no sense to me.


      • Seven… oh, no five (last two were when he drove his Bentley into a pool of freezing water in the Manchester wastelands)! Tee hee!


    • Most of the spurs fans I know feel the same way about Redknapp as mentioned on this article. Snide digs at fans and our expectations when he was letting his good work turn sour; contradicting the chairman with regards to transfer policy in public; making players out to be idiots by telling them to ‘run around a bit’; and always knowing that he would jump ship at first opportunity.

      This article is bang on the money. Any fool wanting Redknapp back for whatever reason doesn’t have the clubs interest at heart, especially as AVB is currently doing so well.


    • Good article, I was amazed to see Lennon and Bale continuously going in field instead of taking on the full backs. Increased the congestion and took away any chance of playing balls through their defence. Not enough movement from ADE and Defoe either to create that space.
      Well done Harry you triumphed yesterday . Thanks for the flowing football, best I’ve seen since the double winning team and the ride.
      BUT I really am glad you’re gone. People say how well HR did but I think it just shows how really bad Ramos did. Same players, roughly, that Martin Jol had and he got two fifth places, could have got CL if not for doggy meals!
      Harry came in with those players more mature, guided them, cuddled them and got them playing again that’s all.

      As for him going, any manager that talks of his teams’ supporters the way he did, what was it “Only morons phone in to chat shows!” when his ethos was challenged, he never said it was US always using THEM when talking about the fans or the team.

      Thanks for all the old age players and also for making it obvious he wanted the England job and also for taking his eye of the ball second half of last season. Thanks for being 10 points clear and ending up 4th and consequentially not getting CL football again. Not Chelsea’s fault or EUFA’s but Harry and the team’s. Team, maybe playing the same players week in week out had something to do with that eh??? Thanks same thing happened the season before, team fell away after New Year. Cost us CL again!!
      Wonder how much that lot cost the club, missing 2 CL places on the trot.
      WHY did Levy sack him?
      All IMHO of course.


    • Fans are grateful for what he achieved and the quality of some (not all) of the football we played but I stand by my assessment, he was never in our hearts. That’s not just me projecting my feelings, it’s the honest reflection of the majority of Spurs fans I’ve met and/or talked to on the net. You don’t have to be loved to be successful, of course.

      Regards, Al


  2. Tactic’s? playing attack v defence at home isn’t a tactic, any fool could do that-which funny enough Redknapp failed to beat, when Villa, Sunderland and a few others employed the same ‘tactics’ last season!
    As for having him back Gary? You may know loads of fans who would, but I know an awful lot more who certainly wouldn’t, because we’re now a football club managed and coached by a professional, not a used car salesman-which is nice!


  3. Well done to ‘Arry for stifling us out but we made it easy for them. Adebayor’s trip to the African Nations Cup is no loss given his current form. I’m hoping that he will get his act together, treat the Cup as a competitive pre-season and come back with a better attitude. He’s a centre forward and, as with most things in life, the clue is in the name. He needs to be in the centre and forward.
    Yesterday was a day that I’d have longed for sixty minutes of Van Der Vaart. Whilst Parker, Sandro and Dembele are fine players, sometimes it just takes that bit of sparkle just to make that 5 yard acceleration on the edge of a crowded box and create something. Much as I admired Modric (for his on the pitch activities anyway), it’s Van der Vaart who has been the biggest loss this season. I was sad to read about his personal problems which were undoubtably behind his departure.
    On the positive side, I thought we looked very composed at the back and QPR posed very little threat. That’s a game we would have lost two seasons ago.
    I was shocked to hear Sean Wright Philips was 31. I remember him as such a promising youngster and I watched him yesterday wondering where that promise had gone to and how little he has achieved. I hope Adebayor reflects that a footballer’s career is so short and chooses to do more with what is left of it.


    • Not playing well as a team, we needed the spark of inspiration from an individual, but nothing doing there either. Think it has to come to back to manu in that with a whole lot of nothing up up front, we were also a man short in the middle.

      regards, Alan


  4. Alan:

    “Harry, let your achievements speak for themselves, they will always, sounds far more eloquent than you and now you’re gone, let us get on with it”.

    May I nominate your goodly self for his year’s Nobel Prize for this year’s contributions to the esprit de l’escalier award? (I’ve no objections to the 500,000 Swedish Krone prize being directed N17-ward: I’m sure Daniel will gratefully accept the donation for use in Brazil)!

    Say no more, guv?


  5. Like I’ve said before, we need a top all round striker and a proper creative midfield player (which we do not possess at the moment) ..and preferably in this window


    • I agree. JD and Ade should be numbers 2 and 3 behind a world class striker. Hopefully this window.
      We are still going well and I am happy with the new manager.
      Harry is gone and from my point of view he did his job but it was time to move on. The new guy needs at least a couple of years to develop the side.
      I still think we can finish 3rd this year.


  6. Parking the bus from the whistle, although evidently effective, isn’t really a tactic worthy of praise. Hope the grubby little man takes them down.

    As for us, you could’ve been forgiven that Redknapp was still in charge; reminiscent of so many games over the last four years. There are no short cuts, we need to buy top quality players if we’re to avoid another season of what could have been. Adebayor is a mercenary scumbag who we’d do well to move on asap. Defoe is just not good enough. These are the facts.


  7. Reading an autobiography (not of a footballer) the other day I came across this, which although unrelated might be of interest:

    ‘One of the greatest footballers I played with during that time was Danny Blanchflower. Although he was getting on in years he had such craft, such skill, the sort of abilities that you rarely see from the terraces but that have a profound effect on certain players and on the way a team functions. I remember him telling me one day during a fairly competitive match at Leeds United football ground (we were playing an ex-Wolves eleven): ‘Stop looking around for the ball when you’re running forward. Just run towards the goal and don’t worry about the ball.’ I listened and as I ran forward ever closer to the six yard box this perfectly flighted ball would pop over my right shoulder and land exquisitely in front of me. What a great player, always making other players look good.’

    Happy days. I find myself in agreement with you about ‘Arry, more and more as time goes by. There’s a deal of bitterness, possibly about the legacy he feels he deserves (great man manager, thinker, all round diamond geezer) and what he’s likely to end up with (chippy wheeler dealer who can’t read and thinks tactics are a mint). The truth as ever lies somewhere in the middle, but it is true that nothing is ever his fault.


    • Lovely words re Danny B, wish I’d seen him play and wish we had a player who could do the same today, although in Hoddle’s era I’m sure the forwards had the same feeling when he got the ball.

      Regards, Alan


  8. We were not good yesterday against QPR that we should have been able to beat really.We did not pass the ball properly and failed to position ourselves properly and move around in order to create openings. We looked like a disorganised team without ideas, creativity and cohesion. In my opinion, Defoe and Adebayor are not sharp enough up front.. We must buy another good striker.


  9. Alan well put regarding the game.
    The game aside. We had (before QPR game) the same amount of shots on target as Manu, the only 2 with the highest in the league. Imagine if we had a striker of RVP quality, we could of been above Manu. So it is clear AVB tactics are creating the chances with the squad he has. One quality striker and we will finish 4th for sure. One creative midfielder and who know;s.
    We as fans must forget what Redknap did for us, and for the good of our club, get behind the manager.
    Onwards and upwards. Goons have lost . Lets see how we fair againts Manu.


  10. A game we was never going to win!

    As dull at times as I was was this game was never gonna be a classic, had we won 4 or 5 nought, drawn or lost Tottenham Hotspur were never gonna get any format of applause.. Win by mile & it would have been “course you should batter then their not bottom coz their a good side” win by a last minute wind blown fluke and NO media man will mention we’ve got 3 more points draw of lose and AVB gets it & “Harry wins the battle”

    I don’t see it like any of that, Tottenham being Tottenham have ALWAYS been vulnerable in these games, Tottenham being Tottenham have a habit of letting old journey men show us up when least expected and Tottenham being Tottenham always seen void of ideas away to these poorer sides, BUT having said all of that it wouldn’t make a jot of difference if it was AVB ABC or ARY who was in charge the end result is 99.9% of the time the same!

    Now as for HR winning a tactical battle I can’t agree, it was NO tactic sticking 11 men BEHIND the ball, standing on the 18yard box and asking for quality players to find a way through JUST as it was last season WITH HR in charge at the same ground with the yet again NO tactics there either, we couldn’t find a way past then and couldn’t find a way past now BUT their was a massive difference between the 2 games, 1 we lost and 1 we didn’t, and this time we could and should have won despite not even getting going..

    Yea it’s clear that we struggle against teams that park the double decker and yes we need to find a way through ((us sitting deeper in our own half inviting them forward so hence making space behind to run on to)) might be an idea BUT never the less this time round we walked away unscathed a point to the good, a unbeaten run still intact and a potentially media frenzied banana avoided…

    So for me as shite as if sounds il take the point and move on!!

    A good read though!


  11. I’m not against (though I prefer the extra man in midfield) two up front per se, but our two barely acknowledge each other’s existence let alone spark off each other. Gilzean & Chivers or Archibald & Crooks or even Crouch/VdV it isn’t. Now we’ve had our run of playing the low lying sides it’s time for Dempsey or even Dembele at the top of midfield off Defoe or Adebayor (if he picks up while in RSA) imo.

    We were outnumbered in centre mid yesterday and while his decision making wasn’t always the best Taraabt was a constant thorn in our side spatially, so it was easier to smother us in there and we couldn’t draw them out or get midfielders beyond the forwards as easily.

    Harry’s a very hard and ruthless man in football, always looking to shift the blame on. I still chuckle at him trying to pin some of the Real Madrid debaacle on Lennon, who was having none of it. He did a fine job for Spurs, the best football since the 87 side (the early to mid 80s side(s) was/were better imo) but showed real signs of having run his course and run out of ideas I think.

    I’m pleased with AVB, but he needs to get the midfield maestro and top class striker we need to move us on to the next stage with any consistency. Given the loss of Modric and VdV we are doing pretty well I’d say, though the quality of the league has gone downhill in the past couple of 2-3 seasons.

    Anyhow, I think that’s a decent away point all told, could have been better but okay, not real harm done on the weekend. At least we didn’t lose like we did against the same “tactics” at Loftus Rd last season.


  12. Indeed getting our central midfielders beyond the forward is something I’d like us to do better generally.

    Anyhow fine read as ever Alan. Thanks


  13. Having said all that Defoe and Ade combined well for the early chance which brought the double save from Julio Cesar, so maybe there’s some hope …


  14. “…our feeble solutions were as effective as a Deal Or No Deal contestant who finds themselves in an episode of Mastermind by mistake.”

    Actually loled, good one.


  15. 40 points up and no relegation fears for another year,
    Some of you younger fans don’t appreciate how we old timers
    still salute this landmark each season and raise a cheer and a glass.
    And some of you fans don’t realise how difficult it is to make a cordon bleu experience
    out of a mismatched assortment of ingredients as were served up at QPR.
    Good work once again Alan.


  16. Alan. I congratulate you on finding anything to write about regarding that dreary, awful match on saturday. However, would like to make one comment to the “We want Harry back brigade”. How much loyalty did he show to Tottenham when he thought he was going to get the England job and maybe, this was the main reason for the board to decide that we may be better off with someone who wanted to be with us for a long time rather than someone who wanted to jump ship as soon as a better offer came along. Only speculation on my part but who knows ?


  17. It was part of Harry’s clever strategy to force Bale and Lennon into the middle (he knows only too well how good those players are with their crosses) as a result of which there were no crosses from the wings and thus not feeding Defoe and Adebayor with the ball to score..Then, QPR flooded the midfield with their players who kept thwarting Spurs’ attacks. I rue the fact that we dropped 2 valuable points but credit must be given to QPR, who, through great motivation and tenacity ,made things difficult for Spurs and successfully held them to a goalless draw. It is quite evident that we faced the same ‘parking the bus’ tactics against teams like Wigan, Norwich, Stoke and West Brom that we were not able to beat, even losing to lowly Wigan. Spurs must show more cohesion and creativity to beat those tactics..


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