The interview (click on the link above if you want to see it on the Spurs site) has the heading 'Its down to us'. Hmm. Some one over at THFC HQ is a genius.
Q) What is your opinion on our start to the season and the position we find ourselves in?
A) Juande Ramos: We had such a good pre-season, we played well, we were confident but now we've started the season with disappointing scorelines and it's a situation we need to change quickly.
After every match we need to change quickly. But we appear to be quickly doing nothing about it. It’s the same performance replayed for our unified misery. Players performing well in pre-season simply means that mentality they can swagger around the pitch in nothing games, but do nothing in games that actually matter. The mental strength of that Carling Cup run has never materialised in the league. Why?
Q) How do you feel when people tell you it is the worst start Spurs have made for 53 years?
A) JR: I don't like it and we have to work hard to change the situation and myself, the coaches and the players are prepared to do that.
To dare is to do, right? Well, how about stepping up? There’s this argument, that no matter the standard of players, if effort and spirit is evident in abundance they can overcome better teams. It’s what happens in giant killing moments in Cup football. Or when smaller unfancied teams turn over the likes of Utd. So surely, Spurs, a team of players earning staggering amounts in wages – surely on any given Saturday or Sunday they can play their hearts out. Because if they did, we wouldn’t mind so much if we kept losing.
Well, we would, but the effort would not go unnoticed. Instead, all we see is a team under performing to the point of dire mediocre levels. So, is this team, this squad of players, so disjointed and uneven that they fail to ignite any type of spark? Or is it a tactical failure? Being prepared to help get ourselves out of this mess is a consequence of not being prepared when we kick started our season at Boro.
On paper, there have been a dozen or so worse teams that Spurs in the past 53 years, who haven’t started this poorly. Time Ramos took a risk with his selection. Time the players stopped talking about ‘top 4’ and ‘Champions League’ and started to accept they are bottom because they are playing shit.
Q) What is being done to change the situation?
A) JR: It's only possible if we work very hard, have confidence in our ability and the team is together. This is the principal way to change the situation.
Work hard. Have confidence. Togetherness. Every time I watch MotD I see these basic, fundamentals in every other Prem club. Sure, some are lowly because of their lack of true quality as footballers. And others are just Newcastle (thank God for them). So it’s a worry that when all the media and pundits had as down as a dead cert for 5th spot, the players, still don’t look like they have the will to get things started. Waiting for that first win to kick start our rise up, is fine, but if it still hasn’t arrived in 5 games time, then that confidence will never see the light of day and the sheer expectation and pressure might have us buried come Christmas.
I don’t believe that it will happen. 3 or 4 wins and it will be back to mid-table happiness. But if the principal way is fruitless after next Sunday, and we lose – then the players are not reacting to Ramos and Poyet. Arguing whether that is the fault of Ramos or the players is something Spurs fans could argue about for days on end.
Q) Given the position we find ourselves in, what is your message to the supporters?
A) JR: At this difficult time we have to be positive and optimistic. I know it's difficult, but this is when the team needs the supporters. Conversely, when we're winning three or four-nil, we don't need the support as much. We have young players but players with quality and I have every confidence in the team. However, they are young, the pressure is on and it's possible the confidence is low. I'm sure when we win two or three matches that situation will change.
The fans are frustrated. Spurs supporters do not demand success to claim we should be 4th because we are Tottenham and we deserve it. This is the popular misconception, a myth. We just our ambitions as fans to be played out by the team out on the pitch. We were once the London fashion gurus. The iconic swaggering Tottenham Hotspur. Flair all around. Arsenal have that mantle now when it comes to style of football, and Chelsea have done their very best to buy up some history. Wanting something we once had isn’t a bad thing, considering we are rich, still in the Prem and spend shedloads of money.
Having the media and players bang on about our ambitions and where we should be, simply magnifies the fact that it’s all very much hype.
We have improved as a club, tenfold in the past 5 or so years. Those two Jol seasons gave hope. And maybe we should be laughed at for not seeing that it will come a cropper soon enough, like always. False dawns and all that jazz.
That’s why some fans boo. That’s why some of the home games have had a flat atmosphere. Away support is always fantastic. So yeah, I agree that Tottenham should repeat that amazing support that made a cameo in parts during the Wigan game. But if that fails to inspire the players, then believe me, people who have spent £700 on a season ticket have a God given right to boo.
Q) What was the mood in the dressing like after the match yesterday?
A) First, they were sad and logically they were angry as well. They are waiting to win. On the coach on the way home they started to think about the next match, Wisla Krakow in the UEFA Cup on Thursday. We need to win that game, we need to get through to the next round and I think we will see the best of the players.
Honestly, I will eat my hat if we beat Krakow. This season just has a feeling of it getting worse before it gets better, but I’d rather get knocked out of Europe and then climb the table into a UEFA Cup spot than get knocked out in the Q-F’s and not make Europe.
Q) What is the atmosphere at the club like at the moment?
A) JR: At this moment everyone wants to help but only the professionals on the pitch can do it. All the people want to help but I repeat, only the players and management can change this situation.
Again, players and management – you need to step up. Listening to how we need to step up after every defeat is making it worse.
Q) Do you understand the frustrations of the supporters?
A) JR: Of course - it's the same for us. I can promise everyone we are doing everything to change this situation. In football, sometimes things are difficult to explain but I'm sure we'll have fantastic support from the fans and the rest we have to do on the pitch.
If it’s the same for the players, then why do I not see any difference? Maybe every game, one player stands out, but as a team – as a unit – nothing.
Q) You chose not to play your most attacking formation against Portsmouth, why was this?
A) JR: The match was very even and the penalty against us changed the situation. In the second half a similar incident arrived and it was a possible penalty and then it was possible to draw. It's difficult. The confidence is down and we need to play with nil goals against. We are having problems scoring goals and therefore we need that security.
So basically, one up front, so we can defend more because we can’t score goals, so need that extra security. But surely we are not scoring goals because we have one up front? Very politicianesque styled answer from Ramos this one.
I thought Pompey were poor. A confident Spurs side would have beaten them. But this current Spurs lot didn’t get close. And yeah, we ain’t getting the decisions – much like many teams that struggle don’t. Enough with the feeling sorry for ourselves and the circumstance we are in. Grab the fucking game by the neck. Sweat blood. Take that risk.
Q) You have changed your formation from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1 recently- is this your preferred formation with this team or are you still trying to settle into something you are happy with?
A) JR: I prefer 4-4-2 but as I have explained before, it's possible to change. I prefer 4-4-2 but sometimes you have to look at the situation. It's always the same though. If the team is losing then people say ‘he's not changing players, how is that possible, if you are losing then change the players'. It is always about results, that is always most important.
But it’s not working is it? Changing from one to two upfront. So either stick with one formation and let them build up some kind of understanding or change the key personnel. Consistency, Christ that word, consistency is the key. Consistency losing appears to be because of uncertainty that the players manifest when the game kicks off.
Q) What is your reasoning behind rotating the players for every match? Does this destabilise the squad?
A) JR: Pavlyuchenko and Corluka can't play in Europe, Ledley King can't play in every match, Gareth Bale is injured, we have small injuries each week and I need to change three or four players every match. It's impossible to play the same players if you play every three days. We need to find the solutions. If we were winning, people would say 'perfect, he's using the squad'.
We should never have sold TT or Steed. Sure, TT is injured often himself, but there are one or two players who have left that should have been part of a squad – a stronger squad than what we have. The fact these players left and were (arguably) replaced, we still needed more cover. The forward line-up is weak. Bent gets injured, and who exactly plays Europe? The King situation is one that warrants its own blog entry. Generally speaking, I feel for Ramos here. A club that wishes to be in a certain position, needs to make those wishes a reality with impact-making transfers. Not media-friendly transfers.
Q) So the message is ‘stick together'.
A) JR: As this moment it's the most important thing - the fans need to understand that the first people who want to change the situation are the players, the management and all the people in the club. This is when we all need to work together. It's a difficult time and we all hope to change the situation.
Ok, whatever. I doubt this interview was anything more than the usual panic-station Levy propaganda piece to help appease the fans. Too much talk, not enough action.
Time to shut the fuck up, and EARN those points. Earn respect.