I GATHER some Tottenham supporters have been criticising manager Harry Redknapp for a loss of form that has seen them fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League. They must be completely barmy. Spurs have never had it so good, or at least not in recent memory.
Of course it’s disappointing not to be in with Europe’s big boys again next year, if you look at in isolation. But clearly some fans have become slightly spoiled by their Continental adventure this season.
You always get that to some extent. When we won the league at Everton it became harder to keep the faithful happy. You reach a high level and then they expect it. It’s human nature.
Tottenham can’t say they’ve had a poor season, however. They reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League on their debut in the competition; to have managed a top four place would have been monumental.
In the end the burden of playing the best in Europe and having to consistently raise their game to very, very high levels took its toll and they ran out of steam, with just one win from their last 10 Premier League games.
They were also hit hard by Gareth Bale’s fitness problems. He has won matches on his own for them and other players feed off that. But he’s such an athlete and relies on his explosive pace that when not in absolutely peak condition he is not as effective.
Manchester City, who pipped them to the last qualifying place, had their own distraction in the Europa League, but Roberto Mancini has been able to assemble a squad of huge depth to cope with challenging on all fronts.
The problem for Spurs is that competition for the top four is only going to get tougher next season. As well as the current incumbents, Liverpool are a force again and I have a funny feeling that Everton could just be back in the mix.
That means Tottenham need to arm themselves with new signings, chief among them a striker of the highest calibre. They’re not that hard to find, just look at the top of the goalscorers’ charts in Europe, pick your favourite and check his availability.
They could also use an alternative to the 4-4-2 that Harry seems to love. Being able to play 4-3-3 with wide forwards who can drop back into midfield would make them less predictable, and prevent their central midfielders from being outnumbered. If I have one criticism of Redknapp (left) it’s that they could use more variety to their play, and therefore a few more players familiar with another system – but that’s all.