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Redknapp losing sight of job at hand
I wonder if the suits and top brass of the English Football Association had their TV volumes turned up during the second half of Manchester United’s annual win at White Hart Lane.
If they had, they would have heard the Red Devils fans gleefully serenading home team manager Harry Redknapp with sarcastic chants of "Redknapp for England", the post that he most covets. I also wonder if they would have had the nerve to use their DVRs to re-watch the goals conceded by the supposed third-best team in the country.
I wonder whether they have caught Tottenham’s defending over their last 180 minutes? If they had, they should run in the opposite direction of Redknapp, the supposed front-runner for the national team's vacant managerial position. It's obvious Spurs' defending is being callously ignored (along with the axiom 'defense wins championships').
It is possible that since being cleared of tax evasion, Redknapp has been more focused on enjoying life than practising what he is paid to do - namely, being a football manager and winning matches. That could be one of the reasons why his team has been nothing short of a shambles in their last two outings, though I believe the reason is something much simpler.
The FA have made it known, through varying channels and friends within the media, that Redknapp is their number one choice, putting the Spurs boss within inches of a position that is the Holy Grail for English managers - a job that no one in their right mind could turn down (regardless of whether they're the right man for it).
This flirtation and inevitable love affair has effectively made the Tottenham man a lame duck and has given his squad the ultimate: an excuse to fail.
Anyone that has played sport at a competitive level will know that everybody loves an excuse as to why they did not succeed. Sometimes, unconsciously, they look for it. And for Tottenham, there have been plenty of options over the last two weeks.
The excuse for Sunday could be that injuries robbed them of the services of Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart blunting their attacking prowess. Or they could say the referee, Martin Atkinson, should have allowed Emmanuel Adebayor to use his hand to score the opening goal.
Last week’s excuse could have been that the substitution of Sandro should have denied Arsenal the acres of space they had in midfield.
But these are simply excuses that avoid the three themes that could ultimately derail the rest of Tottenham’s season: One, Harry’s mind is with the England job and not with his players, which has to be career suicide when you’re primarily known as a manager whose loyalty and honesty gets the best out of his players; two, that he is basically incompetent as a tactician and has relied on outrageously talented individuals to bail him out of trouble; and three, he seemingly ignores defending principles, or at the very least does not impart them to his back line.
If you look at the facts, it’s obvious Spurs just do not have the quality to win those games that are needed to become champions (United have mastered this art against average teams). They can’t concentrate, and they can’t keep cool under pressure for 90 minutes on a consistent basis. This is especially the case when they’re playing the top teams; namely, United, City and Arsenal.
The one saving grace for the Lilywhites and their European aspirations is that Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool have shown themselves far more vulnerable. These three clubs (barring a collapse of epic proportions) should not be able to catch the north Londoners, especially when you consider Tottenham’s run-in.
Only Chelsea should pose any kind of problem, and given their current issues, a Spurs win in west London isn’t out of the question. If Redknapp can refocus his players' minds on the task at hand, a salvage job is still on the cards. However, if the England position is still floating around without a specific landing point, who knows where everyone’s minds will wander.
Redknapp has been around the game long enough to know that form is fleeting, class is permanent. It's a cliché he’s familiar with, one with a clause he should be repeating to his players - class is permanent!
Stick to what you’re good at Harry – man management. Leave the coaching to those in the know.
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