Saturday, March 08, 2008

Come on lads, let’s see some hunger

First Birmingham and then PSV. Let’s hope Spurs snap out of their mini drop in form before tomorrow’s derby against the Spammers, who have been thrashed in their last two matches 4-0. Normally I’d be quite happy to be playing against a team getting beat so convincingly, but after our last week I’m not so sure.

I thought it was a decent gesture from the club to parade the Carling Cup before kick-off on Thursday, as many Spurs fans were unable to get a ticket for Wembley. I also thought it was shrewd of Ramos to ensure that the two players responsible for the parade (Bale and Gunter) were not involved in the match itself. In fact, none of the players participating in the game were even on the pitch. Sensible I thought, let’s make sure everyone focuses on what we all knew was going to be a really tough match I thought...

Alas, the starting eleven may not have seen the Carling Cup on Thursday, but they certainly hadn’t banished it from their minds. We were made to endure a frustrating first half due to Tottenham's inept display.

Gilberto had the worst debut I can ever remember and fortunately didn’t come out for the second half. If he had I’d have walked out I think. I’m sure he’s a very good player, but there was no evidence of it on Thursday. And I think someone ought to check his passport, as he’s either the worst Brazilian footballer ever or he’s trying to pull a fast one with the immigration authorities.

Ramos tried to improve things for the second half, but we had great difficulty in breaking down a well organised PSV side. Full credit to their coach in fact, as they played 4-5-1, were prepared to be patient and knew if they could score they could relax a little and largely just defend their lead. But since the tie consists of two legs, they were happy to bide their time after going a goal up but remained in the hunt for a break to get a second goal that would have effectively booked their place in the last eight of the UEFA Cup.

You could tell by watching PSV that they are a continental side. All of their players were technically very skilful, and it was hard work watching our boys attempt to win the ball off them. We conceded a lot of fouls because the Dutch just seemed to have this knack of putting themselves between the ball and the Spurs players.

Ramos is almost predictable in how he responds to a game. I love the fact that we have a manager who is willing to change things around depending on how a match unfolds. He’s not one of these coaches whose definition of trying to change a game is replacing one striker for another with ten minutes to go. Ramos acts in the same way that I play Championship Manager! If we’re struggling then he likes to bring off a defender and throw on a more attack-minded player. And he does so long before the end of the game. It’s often a risky strategy, even more so in the first leg of a cup tie, but it worked reasonably well on Thursday as we did have a lot more of the possession in the second half. Alas we couldn’t break down their defence though and we now face a tough visit to Eindhoven on Wednesday.

As for tomorrow, let’s hope we start as if we mean business from the first whistle of the first half and not the second half. Fortunately I don’t expect to see Gilberto, as I assume Chimbonda will revert to left-back with Hutton coming in at right-back. I doubt Ledders can cope with another game so quickly, so I would expect to see Daws coming back in his place. JJ is a big doubt for tomorrow, so I’d hope Huddlestone will get the nod if he fails to make it. With such a big game to come on Wednesday I guess we may well see some un-enforced changes too, so I’m sure O’Hara, Tainio, Boateng and Bent will all be in the running.

I hope the passion that we witnessed at Wembley returns tomorrow and we can continue to pile on the misery for the Spammers. Some might argue that we do not need to win tomorrow, but the fans won’t be impressed to see another performance like last Saturday or Thursday evening. We need to see some passion from the off. It’s a derby and it’s a game that as far as I’m concerned we must win.


1 comment:

Tottinghams said...

Quite a good article, but please lay off Gilberto, for God's sake! That was his first 45 minutes of football after 3 months out with injuries!