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MIKE McKINLEY: As usual, we get an early-season wake-up call

PUBLISHED: 11:53 22 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:19 07 September 2010

We re making a habit of this. For the third year running a decent pre-season and some big dreams earned us no more than a very swift wake-up call up in the north. It seems there s never much chance for us getting carried away with Spurs for too long. As

We're making a habit of this. For the third year running a decent pre-season and some big dreams earned us no more than a very swift wake-up call up in the north.

It seems there's never much chance for us getting carried away with Spurs for too long. As a performance it wasn't as bad as last year's insipid show at Sunderland.

We had plenty of possession and some nice interplay, which looks likely to be the hallmark of the team this season.

But it seemed to demonstrate mostly that for all our frenetic summer activity, we are still going into the season with large question marks over the balance of the team and the depth of the squad.

A bench of Ledley King, Dimitar Berbatov and Gareth Bale showed how hard it is to have adequate replacements for top class players as their understudies struggled.

And there were more square pegs being shoved unconvincingly into round holes, with David Bentley wandering from an unaccustomed left wing slot and leaving us exposed, while any team with Jenas as the most defensively minded midfielder is unlikely leave the opposition too fearful.

Pretty football is one thing, but someone has to be able to do the nasty stuff alongside the flair.

The double side had Norman, Smith and especially Dave Mackay to provide the fight, but in the current lot it is hard to see where that would come.

It's difficult to imagine us striding confidently into places like the Riverside until we find a new warrior leader.

Finally, a quick reminder for Saturday, Tottenham will be the team with the players you don't recognise.


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