Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ramos’ Early Shoots of Recovery

In the Express of Saturday, 15th December, Harry Harris’s assessment of Juande Ramos’s first weeks at Tottenham read,

‘There looks to be little difference since Ramos took over from Jol.
Tottenham still cannot defend, especially from set-pieces. They are still missing inspirational skipper Ledley King, Dimitar Berbatov remains an enigma, hankering for Manchester United, and I don’t buy his denials.
There is no sign, yet, of Ramos sorting out his four strikers or that troublesome defence.
Tottenham might have won a couple more matches, but they are marginally worse under Ramos than when Dutchman Jol was in charge!’

Now many of you will decry such comments and heap abuse on their author but for my part on that Saturday morning, I would have said that they were a fairly accurate and fair analysis of the past six weeks – Ramos still had a lot to prove.

However, by Saturday afternoon that view was starting to change. In the game against Portsmouth there was a clear indication that Ramos and Gus Poyet were beginning to have an influence on the team. Where previously they would have gone back into their shell in an attempt to hold what they had, now they were much more positive. There was a greater composure about their game and they looked more comfortable, even in defence and with a makeshift defence at that.

Such composure carried itself into the Carling Cup game where they started confidently and positively. The early goal from Defoe helped to build that confidence but even when faced with adversity through the loss of Zokora, they didn’t panic but worked together, competed and frustrated Manchester City who had ten straight home wins to their credit. For seventy minutes they battled to ensure qualification for the semi-finals.

Individual players are showing greater confidence - Robinson, Jenas, Malbranque and Lennon, but all are working for the team and in a positive way.

Ramos was fortunate that his early games were a comfortable introduction into the Premier League. They provided him with a sequence of fairly winnable games, that the team would probably have reaped reward from whoever was manager but two away wins at teams sitting in fourth and seventh places in the Premier League is an early glimmer of the progress that is being sought under Ramos.

Now, he couldn't fashion three points at the Emirates last Saturday, that was too much to expect and we really would have thought he was a miracle worker. However, he saw his team produce a performance worthy of the three points and if Robbie Keane hadn't unexpectedly missed from the penalty spot, it could have been so different.

On Boxing Day, Spurs over ran a poor Fulham team, scoring five, with Keane and Tom Huddlestone both scoring two. Jermain Defoe scored a late fifth. With Ledley King's return and the new manager having an increasing influence, Spurs' fortunes are looking up.


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