Gary Mabbutt: Harry can bring back glory days
IT HAS been an amazing four weeks even by Spurs standards. The board backed Juande Ramos all the way up the Uefa Cup game in Udinese. But after that defeat it became clear to the board that Ramos had to be changed for the benefit of the club. He had los
IT HAS been an amazing four weeks even by Spurs standards. The board backed Juande Ramos all the way up the Uefa Cup game in Udinese. But after that defeat it became clear to the board that Ramos had to be changed for the benefit of the club.
He had "lost the dressing room" and players, senior players had become disenchanted and some said so. Much of the credit for the speed of the managerial change-over must go to chairman Daniel Levy. Usually, when a manager is sacked it takes three or four weeks for a replacement to be found with many names in the hat for the job. But inside 36 hours Harry Redknapp was in place for the Bolton game.
And straight away, there was a different atmosphere for that game - and the following two big games against Arsenal and Liverpool. Before Harry's arrival there seemed little hope of us gaining anything from those two games. We've always known there is quality in the squad but those same players went out and played with confidence and a never-say-die attitude.
The players' heads could have dropped when they went behind in both these big games - remember we were 4-2 down at The Emirates. In fact, we could not have complained had we lost both games by three or four goals. But the players worked their socks off.
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One of the main attributes of a top coach is communication. That was an area where Ramos was difficient in whereas Harry is very good with players. He is good at putting an arm around players' shoulders and telling them how good they are.
Where did Ramos get it wrong? My impression is that while he came with a glowing reputation as an excellent coach, that counts for nothing if the way you handle and manage your players is poor.
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In my opinion you could relate Ramos to Christian Gross. Both are reputed to be excellent coaches but they both could not get the best out of their players, due to poor man management and communication.
The way that Ramos did not even give five players squad numbers was testimony to the fact that he did not possess the skills needed. How can you expect these players to be motivated to train, play in the reserves etc, if they have no chance of playing in the first team.
Yet, for Harry the Spurs job is also a big step forward. It is his chance to deliver on the big stage. Spurs are a big club in aspirations and Tottenham's aspirations are much greater than those of any of his previous clubs - Portsmouth, Southampton or West Ham.
Yet, the defeat at Fulham showed Spurs are still conceding soft goals and keeper Heurelho Gomes has been in the firing line. The Brazilian is a good shot-stopper but he has a big problem with crosses. We seem to be at panic stations when the ball is crossed and it is something that has to be worked at on the training field.
Looking at the Gomes situation Harry can't really do anything until the January transfer window. But the manager has to make a decision. Does he take him out of the firing line or keep him in. Only Harry can take that decision.
Scoring goals again is not such a big problem now. Darren Bent has hit top form, Roman Pavlyuchenko is starting to settle in and I like the look of young Fraizer Campbell. Despite taking 10 points from the five league games under Harry we went into Sunday's game against Blackburn second from bottom - such is the tightness of the division. The win lifts us to 15th and another three points against Everton on Sunday would see us move into mid-table.
The cup matches are coming thick and fast. We are back on track in the Uefa Cup following that excellent four-goal win over Dinamo Zagreb and play Watford away in the Carling Cup next Wednesday. I feel we have a wonderful opportunity to win the competition again.
A few weeks ago I was concerned we could be involved in a relegation battle all season. The players' heads were down but all that has changed. Landing Harry was a bold move but one which I'm more than happy with.