It’s difficult to be positive following a three nil defeat to team deprived of its star centre backs, and with an average age of twenty-three, but I guess as a Spurs fan I should have known better than to expect anything different.
I honestly believed we could take our Europa league form to Old Trafford, expose their young defenders lack of experience, and put an end to our twenty-two years without a win.
On reflection the backline additions of Smalling and Jones cost twenty six million alone, so Sir Alex clearly believes in them, and the early signs are promising for the English duo.
As this was only our second competitive match tiredness couldn’t be an issue so the only explanation for united running away with the match in the last half hour must be Harry’s tactical changes.
Against United we had the choice of Livermore, Jenas, Huddlestone, Kaboul or Kranjcar to operate in central midfield, but strangely when we needed to chase the points Harry opted for Van der Vart who clearly lacks the pace, stamina, and physique to fill that role.
While I can see the progress we’ve made under Redknapp’s management, what does concern me is that he’s had nearly three years to build his own team and with this talented group of players we often fail to create enough chances to win a match.
Harry may point to injuries or other factors, but as was demonstrated towards the end of last season sometimes it’s just a case of being tactically outclassed. Last season, rather than play Kranjcar or Rose, we persevered with a clearly unfit Gareth Bale. There were times when Lennon was struggling for form but was still included and as was demonstrated against United, there are moments when Rafael Van der Vart must be sacrificed for the benefit of the team.
You can’t fit square pegs into round holes, as witnessed with the England set up in recent years, but Spurs have a massive squad with an abundance of options available, so surely we should have a plan A, B and C?
Great managers make risky decisions and are never afraid to change tactics; Harry benefitted for taking a gamble last year when Danny Rose scored a screamer in the first minute against the Gunners. Sadly it appears this decision was a one-off.
Whilst managing Porto Jose Mourinho didn’t have elite players at his disposal, but by using the right players at the right time he found success. Sir Alex Ferguson also utilises the full squad when necessary and players such as Fletcher, Park, O’Shea, etc have been invaluable to United in recent years.
With Harry It may be a case of ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’, but with the ever increasing quality of the Premiership we have to improve or we’ll be left behind.
Daniel Levy has some important decisions to make this week regarding the clubs immediate future, it’s clear we need a top striker, there’s the Luka Modric scenario and we obviously need to offload fringe players and accept our losses on their value.
Regarding the clubs long term future; we have some excellent prospects such as Rose, Walker, Livermore, Kane, etc and with the right coaching and guidance they can develop into top players, but is Harry the right the manager to blood these youngsters and take the club forward to the next level?
We’ll support the team through thick and thin, but if we continue the way we did against United these are the questions Daniel Levy has to consider for the benefit of the club.