Masterful Modric stirs Spurs win
BOLTON WANDERERS 1 vs TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4
TOTTENHAM manager Harry Redknapp conceded his hopes of one day managing England are over after a clinical performance from Spurs sent them back into fourth in the Premier League, edging Bolton closer to relegation to the Championship.
“[The England job] has never bothered me since day one,” said Redknapp. “I’ve been through an awful lot this year. I’m very lucky to be doing the job I do, and working with these players. I don’t think it’ll ever happen now. I wish Roy [Hodgson] all the best and I hope he brings great success to the Euros.”
Before kick-off, Fabrice Muamba was presented to fans for his first public appearance since suffering a cardiac arrest in March and, suitably, his welcome was both emotional and affectionate.
Bolton would not have needed a reminder of the gravity of their situation, but it was Spurs’ superior quality, and desire to qualify for the Champions League by reaching the top four, that soon mattered. Apparently settled now that Redknapp’s short-term future is equally so, they would have scored in the 12th minute but for an excellent double save from Adam Bogdan.
First Gareth Bale and then Rafael van der Vaart tested the goalkeeper but Bogdan, as resilient as he is underrated, anticipated well and no sooner had he finished palming Bale’s effort away had he sprung to his feet and dived once more to deny the dangerous Van der Vaart.
Spurs then proceeded to relax somewhat, yet, if they were guilty of lacking imagination, Luka Modric’s 37th-minute goal cleared them of that and more. Chesting down Van der Vaart’s corner from around 30 yards, Modric allowed the ball to bounce before lashing it goalwards with an effort destined for the very top-right corner from the instant it left his boot. It was a goal of true quality and one fit for a greater occasion, even if such inspiration is what Spurs have recently lacked.
Bolton, however, were yet to be deterred and, with Spurs sluggish, it took just five minutes of the second half for Nigel Reo Coker to equalise with a powerful shot from the centre of the area past Brad Friedel.
Visibly boosted, they pushed on for another and almost got it less than 10 minutes later when captain Kevin Davies headed over, though that was to be their last real threat. Attacking on the counter, Bale crossed low for Van der Vaart to score a one-touch finish to give Spurs the lead once more, and their next goal followed in near-identical fashion.
Only a minute had passed when Aaron Lennon, on the left, sent in a similarly calm pass to leave the simplest of finishes for Emmanuel Adebayor to make it 3-1. The match may have appeared over there and then, but another goal remained.
Again on the counter, Modric played Adebayor into space in the 69th minute for the striker to coolly round Bogdan to make it four.
Rarely can Spurs’ quality have appeared so apparent, yet rarely have Bolton’s hopes seemed so strained. Survival now looks a big ask.
TOP FOUR: THE RUN-IN
5 May, Norwich (H)
13 May, West Brom (A)
6 May, Aston Villa (A)
13 May, Fulham (H)
6 May, Man City (H)
13 May, Everton (A)
8 May, Liverpool (A)
13 May Blackburn (H)