Standing in the freezing cold away end at Bolton on Sunday, a non- Spurs supporting friend who had come to the game with me, summed up our performance in one word. “Abject.”
Over 4500 fans (at least 1/3 of the match day attendance) had travelled from far and wide to support Spurs, but it seemed as though the team didn’t care about the match or the fans.
The first half performance lacked any fight, passion, pace or determination. It was as though the players thought that they just had to turn up to win. Thankfully, Michael Dawson realised the importance of the game and battled for every ball.
Unfortunately, this whimpering performance seems to form part of a worrying trend in recent months. Two 1-0 defeats to Wolves, a home defeat to Stoke, points dropped to Hull and Everton, a lacklustre performance at the home of the Scum and an awful display at Anfield all point to a lack of motivation and concentration.
This can seemingly only come from one place – the manager and his coaching staff. Whilst the progress of the team since Redknapp’s arrival cannot be understated, it seems as though our acceleration in the early part of the season has now stalled.
Admittedly, the second half performance at the Reebok was vastly improved. The fight, pace, passion and determination were there and the team should have won the game comfortably. However, it shouldn’t take a half time “rocket” for the team to perform as they should – Jermain Defoe even admitted that the team had an arse-kicking at half time.
Had the team performed this way during the entire match then I am sure that the game would have been won comfortably. When Heurelho Gomes said last week that the team “sometimes lose focus” in less important games, I nearly fell off my seat in amazement. The manager and coaches should be criticised for this as it is their jobs to have the players ready for kick off.
The core coaching staff of Redknapp, Kevin Bond, Joe Jordan and Clive Allen have the key roles of ensuring that the team perform to the best of their abilities. Too many times this season, they haven’t.
All Spurs fans have known that the team has lacked an on-field leader for years. Somebody to coach whilst on the field, to cajole and bollock when the time is right. Somebody who has been there and done it, somebody who the players look up to. For a brief time we had it with Edgar Davids, since then – nothing. Wilson Palacios cannot drive the team on his own. He needs support. Huddlestone, Jenas et al, do not do this and an experienced, reliable performer is required as soon as possible to help take the team to the next level.
Until this player is secured, and following his arrival, the management team must ensure that the team is ready for each game. The current side has undoubted potential and with a clinical edge we could finish in the top four. To achieve this they need to believe this themselves and it is the job of the coaching staff to put that belief there. It is also their jobs to ensure that the players are motivated and ready for each game.
We all know that Spurs are at their best when they play fast, attacking football. Unfortunately, in the games mentioned there were only glimpses of the Spurs that we all know exists. This must surely be down to belief and motivation.
Redknapp and his team need to make sure the players are firing on all cylinders for each game. If they don’t, we will remain where we have been for too long. On the outside looking in.