I´m not sure whether to comment on Spurs recent progress at the moment. After all it was my over optimistic evaluation of our season´s progress that caused the disaster of our first eight games in the first place and despite my pleas the departure of our highly rated manager, and his assistants, and our Director of Football, and probably the tea lady though this last didn´t make the headlines.
Two weeks on and we are progressing in the Uefa cup and at last climbing the league. Another couple of wins and we will be talking Top Four again and we all know where that sort of talk leads.
Harry Redknapp, in future referred to as Árry, has made minor but telling adjustments: Modric playing behind the striker: Huddleston a fixture in midfield, no joke intended: he has caused Ledleys knees miraculously to improve, and bigged up every man jack of them so that they seem capable of walking on water, which given the weather conditions is a useful attribute. The biggest impact has been on Darren Bent who has turned into a goal machine, reproducing his form of pre-season. To which subject I must not refer as that was the beginnings of our downfall.
The league is very tight this year and with another winnable game next week at Fulham we could be close to the top half of the table. By the same token we can, with a couple of pre-Árry performances, be back in the relegation zone. It is too soon to breathe normally yet and disentangle the crossed fingers.
What exactly has happened to change things around is difficult to precisely define. Confidence is obviously the big factor and Lady Luck has noticed our presence and nodded in our direction. We over-ran Zagreb, a team that looked quite good on paper but out on the pitch didn´t really seem to want to play. They offered little in attack ,Gomes had only one shot to save. Huddleston , given time and space , played as we all know he can, setting up Bent for a couple and scoring a contender for goal of the season himself. Modric was again influential .
Against Man.City we went a goal down early on: then they had a man sent off; Bent scored a couple; they had another man sent off and we won 2-1 just as we did against Liverpool. We also had a man sent off to make it the second game with three sendings off in a fortnight. Ledley also got his second yellow card in three games to add to his career tally of less than 10 bookings. One of them was the pointless obstruction of the goalkeeper which Woodgate had obviously demonstrated in a special training session. Are refs getting tougher or is it the wet conditions ? We have obviously given up on the Fair Play league for this season.
However the truth is that we are not yet playing really well. If Bent stops scoring we could be in trouble again. It is interesting to note that he has scored more than Berbatov and Keane put together and is, at the moment, more than earning his transfer fee. But things are improving: we are keeping the ball better and moving it more purposefully; the long ball is applied more thoughtfully and with Bent and Pavlyuchenko willing runners more effectively. As the confidence improves so will the performances.
` Arry has given the squad a new Tottenham family to shower them with the love that is White Hart Lane and to help them recover from the culture shock and language deprivation that was Juande Ramos. Uncle Tim, Sir Les, Teddy et al have been roped in on a part time basis to cuddle the team back to success.
Personally I think this is a ´Arry ploy to comfort the fans rather than the players`because I´m not sure what a couple of sessions with Sir Les will do for Darren Bent or Pavlyuchenko. The language difficulties are on the same scale as the United Nations during an interpreters strike.
It´s all part of the feelgood factor and if it works I´m all for it. However confidence is a bubble that is easily burst especially for a team that has looked into the abyss of relegation.