Time To Learn From Your Mistakes Redknapp
The date was Saturday 28th August and we were playing a Wigan side at White Hart Lane who had lost their first two league games 4-0 and 6-0. Instead of compounding their misery we lost the game 1-0 with an abject, uninspiring display that lacked creativeness. Before the game many people were surprised Redknapp had opted for a starting midfield pairing of Palacios and Huddlestone who both like to sit deep. Huddlestone can’t really be described as a defensive midfielder but he’s not the type to make runs past the strikers either.
That experiment didn’t work and thankfully it hasn’t been tried since. That is until yesterday’s FA Cup game against Charlton. Only this time it was even worse, Palacios and Sandro, both players who if they had to select a position they would say defensive midfielder.
This isn’t closing the stable door after the horse has bolted as the saying goes because I, like many, had a terrible feeling the selection of Palacios and Sandro was a mistake. With Modric being rested, most people assumed Jenas would come in alongside either Sandro or Palacios giving the team a balance between defence and attack. Arguably given JJ’s performance against Everton he didn’t deserve another start and I’m all for that normally but you’ve always got to do what’s best for the team. It seems strange against Everton we didn’t bother with one holding midfielder and then at home to Charlton we stuck two in there.
As has been pointed out to me by WindyCOYS the Palacios selection might have been to help him gain a bit of confidence. Playing at home against a team 2 leagues below you should do that for a player but unfortunately it back fired massively. On a personal level for Wilson he had a shocker, once again being substituted at half time, but as a team we weren’t much better.
We didn’t look like we were in too much trouble and we controlled the half for the most part, but we lacked imagination and that spark centrally that you need to win games. The only bright spark of the first half was the debut of Andros Townsend who at 19 has already shown what a talent he is while out on loan (except at Ipswich where Roy Keane had no idea how to use him), especially with this goal. He played out on the right and terrorised the Charlton defence at every opportunity, running at them and basically doing what a premier league side should do against a League one outfit. No disrespect to Charlton though who come to the Lane with more offensive ideas and inclination than many top flight sides have done this season and gave a good account of themselves.
Centrally though, we were slow and gave them an easy ride. Niko, who needs games to find his best form which he won’t get at Spurs so I see little point in him staying, started in his favourite position on the left but didn’t spend much time there. He loves to drift in which meant not only did we get in each others way but it also left Ekotto exposed for any potential Charlton attacks. Without a midfielder who could run the game and get at the Charlton defence they were fairly comfortable without being in control if that makes sense.
Then the second half came and while I’ve steered clear of blaming Redknapp for the first half for fear of getting abuse from those who believe he can do no wrong, he deserves credit for making the obvious change. Palacios off and Modric on. The game was over within 15 minutes of the restart. Modric pulled every string there was to pull, got forward, linked play and generally made everyone else look better. I’m assuming Redknapp might’ve had the odd word to say while the lads sucked on pieces of orange too.
It’s possible, and more than probable that Jenas wouldn’t have done the same. I’m not saying he would have. However, you’ve got to give yourself the best chance of playing well to win and for me that means even when resting players you’ve got to still keep the right shape and balance which we just didn’t do. Hopefully, having witnessed how it doesn’t work against Wigan and now Charlton, that’ll be end of the Roberto Mancini style of play at White Hart Lane.
In the end, it was a very comfortable win and a mistake we didn’t pay for. With the likes of Modric and van der Vaart on the bench and Defoe returning from his ban with two goals we always had a very good back up plan and thankfully so. We were excellent in the second half, we did what we had to do and it’s nice to see changes being made for the positive. Fulham away in the next round. Bring it on.
Watch the goals from Tottenham 3-0 Charlton
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