Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Madrid 4-0 Spurs - Redknapp adds to the confusion

First of all, let me congratulate Real Madrid for an excellent and professional performance last night which saw them all but qualify for the semi-finals. In the second half in particular, Madrid demonstrated perfectly how to pressure and overrun 10 men and fully deserved their 4-0 win.

However I'm not here to talk about that, I'm here to complain bitterly and wonder how it is even possible for Tottenham to capitulate so fast into a confused and disorganised mess. First of all Aaron Lennon is taken ill in the tunnel minutes before kick-off. Then Jermaine Jenas is used to replace him, yet Redknapp decides not to do a straight swap, and finally after conceding an early goal, Peter Crouch loses all sense and gets himself sent off.

I blame Crouch the most, to get sent off for two identical tackles in the first 15 minutes is unforgivable. He let his team-mates down and made the rest of their evening pretty much impossible. Defending for 75 minutes in the Bernabeu with ten men, when already 1-0 down is such a difficult thing to do. Lennon missing was also a massive blow for Spurs. Lennon can often shine on the right hand side when all the attention is on Bale, and together they can be devastating on the counter attack, it is rather disappointing that we never got to see this full strength attack in action.

There is one person who doesn't seem to be getting enough criticism in the press today in my opinion - Harry Redknapp. I don't blame him for what happened after Crouch's sending off, but in the opening 15 minutes Spurs were a complete mess. To me, with Lennon being withdrawn so late, Jermaine Jenas should quite clearly have just slotted straight into Lennon's position on the right side of midfield. Jenas has pace and while this is not his position, I am sure that he could have adapted. This however did not happen, instead Redknapp decided to change the entire shape of the team to accommodate Jenas in the middle. Surely the team have spent the last few days preparing in a very specific way, with Modric and Sandro in the middle and Bale and Lennon on the wings. Redknapp's last minute adjustments meant that Modric was pushed out to the left and Bale didn't seem to know which wing he was playing on as he continually switched early on.

As you can see above, in the first 15 minutes (before Crouch got sent off) Tottenham's midfield was all over the place. It baffles me that after having such a clear formation and game-plan almost right up to kick-off, that the manager would move so many things around at the last minute. It can also be argued that the confusion caused by these changes led to Adebayor's first goal. As the teams were lining up on the pitch, Tottenham's coaching staff can be seen showing Jenas tactical information on a clipboard. In comes the first corner, and Adebayor is left free by Jenas to nod home the opening goal. Surely somebody was assigned to mark Adebayor, and it couldn't have been little Lennon.

Bad decision making from the boss resulted in mass confusion on the pitch, and terrible decision making from the lanky one up front ended all hope of limiting the damage.

Rant over - One bad result won't deter us Spurs fans, we forgive and forget quite easily. We'll just win the second leg 5-0 at White Hart Lane - COYS!

Chalkboard courtesy of the excellent Total Football - Champions League iPhone app.

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