We must play Peter's game now, says Harry
TOTTENHAM still have to learn how to play with Peter Crouch and get the best out of the 6ft 7ins target man, according to manager Harry Redknapp. The Spurs boss dropped the 28-year-old forward from his starting line-up against Burnley...
By Ben Pearce
TOTTENHAM still have to learn how to play with Peter Crouch and get the best out of the 6ft 7ins target man, according to manager Harry Redknapp.
The Spurs boss dropped the 28-year-old forward from his starting line-up against Burnley on Saturday, despite his hat-trick three days earlier against Preston.
That leaves Crouch with just one Premier League start for Spurs, against Manchester United three weeks ago.
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And, having watched a sudden and undesirable succession of long balls against the champions, Redknapp decided to reunite Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane in attack against both Chelsea and Burnley.
"I've bought him [Crouch] more than anybody so I know all about him. I felt we maybe went back to front a little bit too early [against United], because of Peter," mused the manager.
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"I just felt we suddenly wanted to hit him too early, with not enough quality, and it was a case of him fighting for balls, whereas we could have played more and dropped more quality balls in from better areas to him.
"We hit him too early and didn't give our midfield time to get up and support. They were coming shorter for balls like we always play off the back four, and we were missing them out and hitting the front, and we weren't in contact with Peter when the ball went up there. I think that was the lesson we learned that day, one of the lessons."
Redknapp concedes that Crouch's physique encourages an overly direct approach, but the boss also maintains that the striker needs high balls to be fully effective.
"We can play it too long at times, because he's an easy option for you," the manager continued. "If you just keep lumping it from the back it's not really our way of playing, we like to pass it and play.
"It's a difficult one though, because you do have to hit him with the ball, because he's not going to run up channels for you. It's no good him coming short and joining in play like Robbie Keane does, running in here and there with his movement because that's not his game either.
"His game really is pulling away on their last man where you can drop balls up to his chest or off his head, where he can hold it up - because he holds the ball well and he can get it down to his feet and play it.
"He's been in great form but they've all done well. Robbie's been in great form and so has [Jermain] Defoe. I started the season with the two little ones and everyone said they can't play together, but they proved they could play together. We started off in great form, beating Liverpool, Hull and West Ham with those two together.