GARY MABBUTT: time running out for Ramos to prove his worth
PUBLISHED: 13:21 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:31 07 September 2010
NOW is the time for the real Juande Ramos to step up to the plate. The Spaniard arrived at the Lane with glowing reports as a top coach – this is his chance to show how good he is. There is no quick fix. He has to get points and there is no point in harpi
NOW is the time for the real Juande Ramos to step up to the plate. The Spaniard arrived at the Lane with glowing reports as a top coach - this is his chance to show how good he is.
There is no quick fix. He has to get points and there is no point in harping on about what should have been. Whatever the rights and wrongs of our transfer dealings, what's important now is put these criticisms behind us and see what can be done to improve the situation. We have to find the consistency to get ourselves out of trouble.
It will be a test of Ramos's skills as a manager and of his tactical knowledge. He arrived as a highly-fancied manager and now he is going to be tested.
Ramos has to work out his best team and his best formation. Whatever system he uses, be it a 4-5-1 or 4-4-2, players like Luka Modric and Jermaine Jenas have to move into more forward positions - we have to score goals from midfield.
This time last season we had four top-class strikers, now we're down to Darren Bent and on-loan rookie Fraizer Campbell as new signing Roman Pavlyuchenko is out injured for several weeks.
Ramos has to work out how he is going to get the team to play, how to fit his players in to a jigsaw puzzle, and get the best out of his existing players.
Yes, he has to chop and change his team. Two of the new signings - Pavlyuchenko and Vedran Corluka - are cup tied for the Uefa Cup. There will always be injuries and those players were signed with that knowledge.
People say Spurs are too good to go down. But there has never been a team in the history of the game relegated who were not too good to have gone down. For Tottenham fans it has been a very disappointing start to the season - two points from a possible 21 is just not good enough.
Make no mistake our next two matches - Stoke on Sunday and Bolton the following week - are huge games and we've got to be aiming at maximum points.
After that we face the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool - in the league and Carling Cup - Manchester City and Fulham. Promoted Stoke have started well and they will be competitive as will Bolton. We have to make sure we get our tactics right. If the results go our way they can be a stepping stones for the following games.
We've proved we can rise to the occasion against the big teams. We showed that against Chelsea this season when we deserved our point at the Bridge. And five of our seven league defeats have been by the odd goal, so it's not as if we have been hammered.
This time last season we scored 14 goals compared to just four this term. Our defence is a lot tighter but it has to be because we are struggling to score goals.
Like many fans I've taken a ribbing from my West Ham and Arsenal friends, especially as for the last two seasons we've been aiming for a top-four spot.
We are a long way away from that at the moment. Indeed, when I'm out and about and meet Spurs fans there is a lot of disappointment - we all had high expectations.
For two years we were the best of the rest and we thought things were moving forward. Last season we won the Carling Cup but that achievement sort of glossed over our poor league form.
Now we have to be careful. Even if we win against Stoke we will still not be out of the basement. The league table does not make nice reading at the moment and it is a case of all hands to the pump.
There has been plenty of criticism from the fans on the timing of the Dimitar Berbatov transfer. Yes, things could have been done differently but we have to move forward.
Lessons I'm sure were learned the hard way - and Robbie Keane leaving was a big surprise.
The role of director of football - or sporting director in Spurs' case - has also been criticised. For me, there is a lot of sense in the way it could work.
Ramos has been used to working with one - it is a European phenomenen - and one that has been integrated into the modern game.
The main role of a sporting director is that of a link between the board and the playing side. He should be able to work alongside the coach, imputting his considerable knowledge to the board on signings.
The job of manager in the modern game is just too much for one person. Being able to scout, sign and negotiate players' wages can no longer be down to one man. The system works if used in the right way - the sporting director and coach have to work together 100 per cent - and it has clearly worked in European countries.
We've brought quality in midfield and most clubs would have agreed that the signing of Modric before the Euro finals was a sound bit of business.
I was not in the country at the time of the Bertabov transfer but my understanding from the club is that United's initial offer earlier in the summer was poor, and they did not make a second one until transfer deadline day.
But hindsight is a wonderful thing. Indeed, if a manager had hindsight he would be the best manager in the world and a club would be the best club in the world. But as I say, whatever the rights and wrongs, they are in the past and we can't do anything about it now. I'm a great believer in doing something about the things we can influence.
Yet, I'm also optimistic we can reach the knockout stage in the Uefa Cup after last week's draw. There are, of course, some tough games against Udinese, Spartak Moscow and Dinamo Zagreb. But if we can rediscover the confidence in the next two games and all pull together I believe we have the qualities to progress.
Gary Mabbutt was talking
to Patrick Mooney
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