This time last year the Tottenham Board were fanning out across Europe seeking to replace Martin Jol. They don't really have that option this season even if we have made an even worse start and arguably a worse finish to last season as well. No-one however should underestimate the ruthlessness of a chief executive in search of a scapegoat. Ramos has moved quickly to lay the blame elsewhere and it could well be Comolli that takes the fall. Not that Spurs fans will worry too much about that, he never really survived being an ex Arsenal man.
I caught the Aston Villa game on an average internet link and didn't see much to lighten the gloom. Team selection against a lively counter attacking side was again questionable,though obviously Thursday's game against Wisla Krakow was part of the equation. Ramos has apparently sacrificed league points for cup glory at Seville but you can only do that when you have league points to play with and at the moment we don't . Jenas when he came on showed how much we miss him and Corluka would have been better alongside Woodgate instead of Dawson who was back to his worst. Huddleston made some good passes but the pace of the Villa attack seemed to leave him stranded.
This is of course with the benefit of hindsight. Giovanni looks to have played himself into a starting role and Bentley should play on the right. I assume that King was being saved for the Uefa game. Gomes made two brilliant saves and then let a weak Young shot though his gloves for their second which proved to be decisive. Remind you of anyone? Pavlyuchenko didn't do anything to suggest that he would be a success in the near future and Bent continued his knack of being in the right place at the right time to benefit from a Jenas shot that was going well wide. We also lost Modric early on and he is unavailable for Thursday. Pavlyuchenko and Corluka,who also did little to suggest that at fullback he is an improvement on what we have already got, are cup tied.
So the problems multiply and I am keeping my head well down. Wisla Krakow are possibly one of the weaker teams in the competition and a win might get us up for the Wigan game .We certainly weren't raring to go against Villa and the Setanta commentator wondered whether we thought it was an 8.30 kick-off. Team selection was dubious, positions were arguable, Bentley on the left for example. Ramos has a great reputation but I find him unconvincing and I am so ready to be convinced.
He certainly cannot be blamed for the failure to replace Berbatov, after all he has been leaving for a year now, or the insult to the supporters that the signing on loan of Frazier Campbell without a buy option as a desperate make weight in the Berbatov deal represents. The breakdown in the Arshavin deal can be squarely laid at Levy's door. But the main problem seems to be in the attitude of the players though I did predict that trying to fit another intake of new players into the squad might take some time .Our record since the Carling Cup win is dreadful and we are playing as if we don't really care. This is down to the manager and it needs sorting out soon. Very soon. At least as the games come thick and fast we have an opportunity tomorrow night to set things right. Will we take it? As I said last time 'the next game will tell'.
And you know what? It did. We scored a couple and won a game against a team that played well; they broke quickly,defended solidly and found each other accurately. We were unlucky not to go to Poland with a bigger lead as our best move of the night ended with Bent scoring again but the goal was disallowed, wrongly, for offside.
Positives: the boy Frazier has talent and skill and set up Bent for the goal that gave us a narrow advantage. I hope that there is no call back clause in his loan contract. Levy couldn't be so silly as to not have this covered as well as being unable to sign him at the end of the season, could he?
Negatives:the chaos in defence that led to their reply within a minute of us taking the lead. Zokora made the initial error but four or five Spurs defenders stood off,or didn't track the runners as they ran through us to score;Ledley left the field limping and was not his normal assured self at times.
Now for Sunday at home to Wigan. Well it didn't go pear shaped , more a knobbly potato shape. I listened to the game on THTV and can't be too authoritative. It sounded as if we played without heart and there were muted boos at half time and less muted boos at full time. Lennon was the bright spot and we kept a clean sheet. Campbell failed to live up to his performance against Wisla, Bentley was awful and Corluka was better than Dawson. I'm not sure where the spark is going to come from to get our season started. We are playing like a man with depression and the longer it goes on the the more nervous the players and fans will become. We will surely beat Newcastle won't we?
Incidently a ridiculous interview with Jenas on Sky Sports where he says we need to play 'ugly'
He couldn't play ugly if he tried and I mean that as a compliment. We are not losing because we play too much football but because we don't play enough. Too many long balls, too little linked up play, too little understanding in midfield, poor crossing and dead ball kicking,including Bentley.
Our best move of the night which was well finished by Bent on Thursday was wrongly ruled offside. But not only was it the best move it was almost the only occasion when we put six or seven passes together in an incisive attack.
Ramos has put the emphasis on skilful players(Modric,Giovani,Lennon,Bentley,Jenas,Bale)and we should concentrate on playing football and outplaying the opposition.
I'm not sure what 'playing ugly means and I don't think Jenas does either. If it involves more effort, as displayed by Cambell and Ohara when they came on then I agree. If it means closing down the other side more quickly,I agree. If it means long balls and more fouls then no thank you. 'Make it scrappy' is a nonsense phrase,we are doing that already by misplaced passes and lack of co-ordination. Lets play football,with more energy, decisiveness and skill. Let's give more options to the man on the ball. Let's support the front men more quickly.
'Playing ugly' I ask you. We don't have the players .Thank God!