Thursday, 22 January 2009
Milk Cup Semi-Final
Burnley 3 Spurs 2 (6-4 to Spurs on agg.)
Imagine an incontinent old man who tries hard to avoid wetting himself, but can’t stop it. No matter how many times he changes his pants and prays it won't happen again, it keeps happening. Over and over again. That’s Spurs.
You could argue that on a mud drenched rain soaked playing field Burnley gave it a right go but only actually managed three worthy efforts on target. All of which ended up in the back of the net. They hardly ripped us to shreds. We missed several chances to score including a sitter from Roman (managing to out do Bent from the other night), long before the final two minutes which saw Roman (making up for that sitter) and Jermain spare us humiliation. You could argue that the performance – which was shambolic with our lack of cohesion and retention of possession – felt 100 times worse because we expect so much from our players.
We expect them to play like the players we know they can be. Although a professional and efficient performance will do just fine, which is something they should be giving us without expectation every bleeding week. But we don’t have the luxury of that at the moment. Face it, that’s how bad we are. We can’t even beat the promoted sides in the league, so what made us think last nights second leg semi-final was going to be easy? Even at 4-1 up you suspected that Spurs would make it difficult for themselves. Their attitude doesn't bode well for our up and coming games. New blood, unaffected by these pathetic moral levels, will probably be the key to turning things around.
Even though lady luck had more to do with it in the end than our class prevailing (Burnley tired out and got punished for settling for the away goal rule), if you swapped Alnwick for Gomes, we would have got through this game without the need for dramatics. Yes, I know Gomes is prone to the odd dropping of the ball, but Alnwick was very much a weak link and clearly cost us 2 goals. Not exactly the environment for an ideal debut.
As a team we were simply woeful, a side of individuals with no team structure who made it very easy for Burnley to get within touching distance of a cup final. We always do just about enough to lose games without getting battered, and last night was a prime example.
Far too many mentally weak players with the fabled ‘I don’t care’ attitude. No urgency or self-respect and very little acknowledgement of the fans loyalty. It’s been like this for quite a while now, and even the threat of relegation doesn’t appear to bother them. Maybe one or two of them are already thinking about where they wish to play next season. Wake up. Wake the f**k up.
Yes it was a game played in nasty conditions against a team that has battled through the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal to get here, but regardless of this and regardless of the players missing from our team, how can you possibly excuse that embarrassment of a performance? 4-1 up and they still managed to almost throw it away. Where was the determination? The passing? The possession? How can you possibly excuse that?
Shut your eyes, this time last year we swaggered to a 5-1 win over Arsenal. I think the final itself against Chelsea was the last time we actually played really decently.
Easily the most inept performance from Spurs I’ve witnessed for some time. We almost got what we deserved. But we suddenly decided to play for two minutes towards the very death and display a little of that almost forgotten Premiership quality.
I'm not completely sadistic. I am 'happy' we have another day trip to look forward too, but not best pleased with the display that got us there. Well done Spurs, you complete absolute joke of side that I love with all my heart, but hate how you pull it in all directions and bleed it dry.
Our players will probably think they did alright tonight. To be fair, one or two did not disgrace themselves. Dawson in particular and Bale and Bentley had far better games than anything else they've done for a while but that's not saying much at all. Zokora, possibly playing for his career at Spurs with the imminent arrival of Palacios also stood out from the dross, but put into perspective – this was all against Championship opposition. Adel (arriving us a sub) showed some spark. Overall, rubbish.
I was half expecting Harry to say we 'weathered the storm' in his post-match interview, but now I can understand his public slating of players. He is right to have a go at them after a performance like that. It's difficult to blame him for the tactics because the players don't look like they actually follow them. His post-match was brutally honest and to the point. We have players who look like they are sulking and feeling sorry for themselves. They need a good slap. The lot of them.
"The players should be fighting for their lives to stay at a great football club like this. Their future is on the line, they need to perform to stay at the club”, said our Harry after the game. Thing is, they stopped fighting a month or so back. I'm inclined to think Redknapp's man management isn't enough at the minute. It would be easy to say he is once more playing the blame game and deflecting attention away from him and onto the players. But the players performances are as bad as they were under Ramos.
You'll have one or two of the giddy idiots getting their suits measured for the final. Faces in Gants Hill tonight for them no doubt.
Looks like we are sending a second-string to Old Trafford on Saturday. Shame we have to discount the FA Cup, but even with a full strength team on current form, I wouldn't fancy our chances. FA might slap his hands for making the comment about a weakened side, but who cares. Mish-mashed will have to do. It’s sad really because it’s the FA Cup. And it’s at Old Trafford. Regardless of the team put out, they should give it 100% because if Spurs can’t be arsed with games like this how exactly are we going to fair in the bread and butter of Prem survival? Where is the passion? I can show you some passion for free, let alone the levels I could reach for £30,000 a week.
Only Spurs can make you feel despair and ecstatic punching of the wall joy at getting to a Cup final. My knees have gone all trembley.