Spurs boss admits costly tactical blunder against Norwich
Harry Redknapp concedes that his decision to switch back to 4-4-2 left his side “miles too open” in yesterday’s home defeat.
Harry Redknapp admits that he made a costly tactical blunder in yesterday’s defeat against Norwich.
Tottenham had taken just one point from four Premier League games against Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Stoke with an aggressive 4-4-2 formation, prompting the manager to switch to a more restrained 4-2-3-1.
The effect was immediate as Spurs picked up a valuable point at Chelsea, before beating Bolton and Swansea at White Hart Lane.
That caused Redknapp to reflect that “it’s hard to play 4-4-2 these days”, and he also used his new formula at Sunderland on Saturday.
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But, having been held to a goalless draw by the defensive-minded Mackems, the Spurs boss switched back to 4-4-2 for the must-win home game against Norwich on Easter Monday.
The result was a disastrous 2-1 defeat and Redknapp concedes that he regrets his change back to a system which once again left his side “miles too open”.
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“We were disappointing. I changed the system, I played 4-4-2, we played with four forwards and I really felt we were too open,” he said.
“We’re too open when we play that way, because we haven’t really got forwards who get back into position and play the system well enough.
“People say to me ‘we’re better when we play 4-4-2’ but I played that way this time and I didn’t like the look of us. I thought we were miles too open.
“They bullied us, their front players were strong and held the ball up well and we really didn’t get to grips with them. It was a difficult day for the people at the back, we certainly weren’t at our best.
“We had some great chances. Benoit [Assou-Ekotto] went through and Gareth Bale’s hit the underside of the bar – how that’s not gone in I don’t know.
“But then they [Norwich] were always dangerous on the counter-attack, and full credit to them, I thought they were very good.”
Following Spurs’ home win over Swansea, Redknapp targeted five wins from the final seven league games to secure a top-four finish – and now, with just five top-flight fixtures left, the target remains the same.
“It was a bad day for us but we’ve got to pick ourselves up,” he said. “We’ve got a cup semi-final against Chelsea on Sunday and then we’ve got five big games to go.
“We’ve really got to look to win all five. It’s all square now and it’s about the team who has the best last five games, so we’ve got to make sure it’s us.
“Do we need a change in attitude? No, the attitude’s been first-class all season. No-one can question the attitude of the players.
“You have days like that. You look at Chelsea against Wigan on Saturday, and Wigan were very unlucky to lose there. There are no easy games, you can’t underestimate anyone in this division.
“They’re all well managed, well coached, well organised and Paul Lambert’s done an amazing job with Norwich. Full credit to them, I couldn’t take anything away from them.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs