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A horribly familiar sinking feeling – report
Monday, 25th Aug 2014 23:34 by Clive Whittingham

QPR produced another of their special London derby capitulations at Spurs on Sunday, succumbing to a comprehensive 4-0 defeat that could have been twice as bad.

For the long-suffering QPR fans wedged into the corner of White Hart Lane, hopelessly exposed to the mocking of the jubilant Spurs fans all around, it felt rather like that moment the down-trodden wife of a serial cheater checks his text messages while he’s in the shower and finds out the bastard has been at it again.

There have been encouraging words, and big changes, since the R’s embarrassed themselves and those who devote their lives to following them around with a 2012/13 season that included just four wins from 38 league games. There have been 15 new permanent arrivals and at least as many loans, while 22 players have left. Only three of the players who started on Sunday did so for QPR’s last away game at this level at Liverpool 15 months ago.

The quality of QPR’s signings this summer seem in marked contrast to that ill-thought out plan to populate the club with ageing, big name stars. The Super Hoops add Maurcio Isla, Jordon Mutch and Steven Caulker to their ranks these days, not Ji-Sung Park, Julio Cesar and Jose Bosingwa. They’ve learnt their lesson, or so they say. Dare we dream again?

And then this. A total abomination of a performance, lacking in every facet of the game, offering no resistance at all to a rampant Tottenham team. It was every bit as bad as anything that happened during the relegation season, laced with all the lousy attitude, appalling body language and insipid play that came to define that campaign. As much as things change, they stay the same, it seems. With a Wembley win and seemingly faultless summer in the transfer market, optimism has been unusually high around Loftus Road of late, making this abject surrender all the more difficult to stomach. As ever, it’s the hope, not the disappointment, which kills you.

Harry Redknapp will curse his charges’ efforts on his first return to White Hart Lane since he was sacked in the summer of 2012. Redknapp achieved consecutive top-four finishes when manager here, and Champions League qualification, which chairman Daniel Levy craves and hasn’t been able to attain since. Although he played it down, ‘Arry must have hoped to niggle his former boss by wrecking the home debut of his latest successor Mauricio Pochettino. Perhaps he even allowed himself the odd daydream about standing on the touchline overseeing the closing stages of a famous win as Tottenham fans streamed towards the exits on all four sides of the ground. Instead he sat motionless on the bench as Pochettino’s well-drilled side tore QPR asunder.

The tone was set in the first minute – Armand Traore with a typically feckless blind pass on the edge of his own area that played the home team’s lone striker Emmanuel Adebayor into space but the Togo international saw his shot deflected wide. That hospitality continued as the time ticked into double figures – this time Richard Dunne handed possession over in a lethal area and Nabil Bentaleb crossed for Adebayor to plant a close range header over the bar when he should have scored.

The QPR fans have never really warmed to Redknapp, despite him successfully offloading the deadwood Meticulous Mark Hughes inflicted on the club, rebuilding the side, and returning it to the Premier League at the first time of asking. The football, for the most part, has been dull and uninspiring, and Rangers squeezed up through the play-offs while operating on the Championship’s biggest budget. Redknapp spent last season giving the impression he was somewhat bored by the second tier, coming to life only at the very end of the campaign when the TV cameras and crucial, do-or-die games returned.

Much of the good will he fostered with that magnificent May will have been burned off by this shambles.

QPR were noticeably slower in body and mind than their opponents. Every pass the visiting team played offered Tottenham a chance to regather possession – some were overhit, some underhit, some were in the air, some went directly to Tottenham players. There was no crispness, no sharpness, no thought or care taken with the passing on a pristine playing surface. On the rare occasions QPR did have the ball they seemed to be noticeably trying to slow the game down, but it just gave Tottenham a chance to close down spaces and snap into tackles. Literally every time Rangers passed the football it looked like they were about to give it away. Once they had conceded possession the R’s were yards off the pace, never close enough to an opponent to make a tackle. Tottenham’s third goal came at the end of a 48 pass move during which not one single QPR player had got within three yards of an opponent in possession to make a tackle. It was like watching a pub team.

Redknapp said afterwards his side lacked legs and energy, and he was exactly right. The question is why? The very least you should expect of a newly promoted side is it to be fit. Sure, QPR aren’t going to be able to afford and attract players of the calibre that Tottenham can and yes, they’re going to take some shellackings on the road this season like all the league’s lesser teams do, but there’s no excuse for not being as fit as the opposition. Not as good, fine, but QPR actually managed to cover less ground collectively in this game than Tottenham, despite the home team having 64% of the ball. Surely the bare minimum you can be, to give yourself half a chance at this level, is as fit as everybody else. You don’t need to be a £30m footballer to be fit.

The QPR manager has criticised the club’s pre-season programme. Again, why? Even when QPR were skint and kicking around in the two leagues below this they would get Ajax, Celtic, Tottenham, Chelsea down for pre-season games. Redknapp said the game against a bang average PAOK side at Loftus Road two weeks ago was the first time Rangers had played a decent team on a good pitch all summer. Why? Hull City go to Germany and play Schalke in a friendly. QPR go there and play two lower division teams in a village athletic stadium. Why? Why? Every summer our preparation seems to be noticeably inferior to the clubs we’re competing against.

Rangers have switched to a three at the back, wing-back formation this season, but already the personnel selection that’s going into it is mystifying. Richard Dunne, never a ball playing centre back ten-years ago and seemingly completely spent in the second half of last season when Redknapp said he was “running on fumes”, now pressed into service as the left sided centre back aged 34 while Nedum Onuoha sits on the bench. It’s not quite akin to picking a goalkeeper at left wing, but it’s not far away. Dunne can’t do it, with or without the ball. With it, he looks terrified, without it he looks like an old man in a particularly high-quality dads v lads match. Redknapp’s persistence with him must go on no longer than this game, where his withdrawal at half time was more mercy killing than substitution. If he continues to be selected in that position, in this system, at this level, the Premier League is going to fill its boots. Rangers will concede 100 goals. It’s borderline cruel to keep doing it to him.

What pre-season Rangers did have went very well for Junior Hoilett, who scored three times, looked like the club’s best attacking threat, and impressed playing as a withdrawn second striker behind a frontman. He was dropped for the opening game against Hull all the same, with Loic Remy recalled despite spending his off-season angling after a move to Liverpool and not playing a single minute of the friendly action. Remy is an exceptional talent, although having been left marooned up front by himself here with Charlie Austin out injured he noticeably chucked the towel in and stopped taking part after half time, so you could perhaps understand the decision. Playing Matt Phillips, another with limited summer action, ahead of Hoilett here though? Inexplicable. Phillips rewarded his manager with a dire display, littered with rank poor control of the ball, and headlined by a missed sitter when – having killed a rare fabulous pass from Joey Barton stone dead in the area and twisted Younes Kaboul inside out – he bizarrely decided to try and chip goalkeeper Hugo Lloris when the ball was crying out to be struck properly and succeeded only in spooning it into the home end.

Score there to equalise and the story could have been different, but not much. Tottenham had already taken the lead by that point, following their two near misses in the first ten minutes up with the opening goal after 12 – Remy crowded out of possession in attack, Nacer Chadli with so much time at the back post that he was able to pull Adebayor’s assist out of the air, draw Robert Green from his line and chip the ball home unchallenged.

Two minutes later Green had to improvise and palm Erik Lamela’s cross-shot away from under his bar. A minute after that a typically dreadful Joey Barton corner set the home team away on a counter that Armand Traore initially seemed to have done brilliantly to interrupt on the edge of his own box only to subsequently present the ball straight to Adebayor whose shot luckily flew straight at the overworked Rangers goalkeeper.

Spurs gave their visitors ten minutes of respite before Rio Ferdinand, tempted out of position by the weight of white shirts ahead of him, fouled Lamela 25 yards from goal and Christian Eriksen – all smart touches and game intelligence – whipped a trademark free kick over the wall, off the underside of the bar, and just about back into play.

This week Barton replaced his drilled low corners straight onto the head of the man at the near post with wide, sweeping, delicate, lofted balls into the danger area which mean that even when a teammate can win a header – and Steven Caulker does that far more often than he has a right to – they also have to generate the power and direction towards goal themselves. A long hard winter awaits if he’s going to continue to insist on taking every dead ball Rangers get.

But our beloved team aren’t just awful with attacking set pieces, they’re woeful at defending them as well. QPR conceded more goals from corners than any other team in the Championship last season and they’ve already shipped two in two games this. Despite bringing every man back into the box to defend, they still can’t find a body or two to man the posts, and for the second week in a row that cost them after half an hour here. QPR fans appealed for a handball in the build up to the corner being awarded – it looked a good shout – but they could have no excuse once Remy had failed to track a cross-box run from Eric Dier who scored his second goal in as many league games with a powerful near post header. Man on the post, and it’s not a goal, even with the pathetic marking.

Five minutes later and Tottenham were permitted to put together the thick end of 50 passes unchallenged before eventually Dunne stepped out of the line sending the whole defensive shape imploding in on itself as Lamela ran smoothly across the face of the area unchecked before chipping a ball back into the centre of the penalty box for Chadli to power in a second unmarked. That was astonishingly inept. Absolutely pathetic.

Leroy Fer, signed from Norwich during the week, was thrown in from the start immediately despite a lack of training and game time since the World Cup, and a lack of contact with his new team, and Ale Faurlin being QPR’s best midfield player for the first hour of the game against Hull, and the entirety of the PAOK game. The Dutchman looked leggy, languid and ineffective.

Danny Simpson, one of the players of last season, was rewarded for that by being dropped immediately for Mauricio Isla. The Chilean will surely get a good deal better than this showing – always three or four yards away from his man, allowing crosses to come into his penalty area unchecked time after time after time.

QPR were horribly open and exposed. Tottenham calmly outnumbered the wing-backs three to one one both sides, and simply switched the ball quickly and precisely from one side of the field to the other. It was swift and fluid, in stark contrast to QPR’s laboured, casual, clueless attempts at the same. Rangers were totally unable to deal with the transition from left to right or vice versa. It was like shelling peas. Pochettino stood as close to the touchline as he could get, directing, demanding, gesturing, yelling – a constant, noisy presence, there with his team. Harry Redknapp and his coaches sat completely motionless on the bench for the entire game, offering no input during play whatsoever. At 2-0 down the QPR manager responded to the home fan’s request for a wave. In the second half, at 4-0, he did so again, to a smattering of boos from the away end. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but a thoroughly daft thing to do, and entirely disrespectful to those who’d paid £40 to get in and see his team put on that display. Like I say, fuel is leaking from the Redknapp good will tank.

The whole shemozzle was probably best summed up by Christian Eriksen casually wandering into the area unmarked in receipt of a simple long throw in just before half time – he set up Adebayor who, somehow, missed a golden chance to add a fourth. Tottenham played the majority of their corners short, and QPR were caught cold by it every single time. Two on one every time. Every time. Like they’d never seen a short corner routine before. Like it was a complete surprise to them. And, again, this is with all 11 players back in the penalty box and nobody on the posts. Amateur.

The introduction of Onuoha to the back line at half time, and an abandonment of the wing back system in favour of what, at times, seemed to be a flat back six instead, steadied the ship somewhat, although Spurs had the game won by this point and played the second half in park. Caulker headed an early Rangers corner wide, Ferdinand showed his experience and strength to shrug Lamela off a half chance from an Adebayor through ball, and Eriksen lashed over from distance.

Anthony Taylor, with nothing to referee all afternoon, blotted his copybook with a booking for Leroy Fer when the Duchman had no choice but to launch a challenge – slightly mistimed – for a loose ball in the Spurs goal mouth. A referee with no feel or understanding of the sport he’s paid to control on that evidence.

Moussa Dembélé added fresh quality to the home midfield that QPR could well have done without, but the long overdue introduction of Faurlin – a midfielder who can and does tackle, win headers and pass the ball properly – boosted Rangers still further.

They couldn’t hold the score to three though. The away end faithful had become restless following several occasions where crosses were delivered into the home penalty box, or the ball bounced in dangerous areas, only for neither Phillips nor Remy to be anywhere in the vicinity. Phillips looked entirely unsure and uncomfortable in this unfamiliar position while Remy, whose attitude Redknapp claims is “first class”, noticeably gave up in the second half, walking around and showing no interest in anything other than staying fit and keeping his kit clean. One can only wonder what Redknapp’s reaction, and that of our fan base for that matter, would have been if Adel Taarabt had played and behaved in the same manner on Sunday.

That restlessness turned into a mass exodus when three QPR players were drawn to a ball on the Tottenham left leaving acres of space in behind for Lamela to free Rose and he rolled it across the penalty area for Adebayor to stab in an easy fourth.

Later Green saved bravely at the feet of Eriksen as attention in the away end was drawn to one fan, substantially more oiled than the creaking machine out on the field, who’d decided that 4-0 down at Tottenham was the time to unfurl a Palestinian flag and bait the home fans. The prolonged struggle that ensued, and eventually resulted in an ugly wrestling match on the steps, could have been the start of a joke: how many stewards and police officers in how many different coloured jackets does it take to safely deal with one drunkard waving a flag?

There were chances to restore some lost pride in the final ten minutes. Bobby Zamora, on for the hapless Phillips, lashed over when he should have scored, and Caulker missed a sitter from a Barton corner in the very last minute. When the ball did finally beat Lloris the goal was disallowed, seemingly for a push on Danny Rose who’d flung his hand up and palmed the ball back towards his own net. Most who’d travelled from Shepherd’s Bush were already tackling the long walk back down the Seven Sisters High Road by that point though.

The result, not unexpected, and not necessarily a disaster. Tottenham, and the rest of the top seven teams in this league, are so far ahead of the rest it can be embarrassing at times. Spurs themselves lost 6-0, 5-0, 5-1, 4-0 and 4-0 last season and still qualified for Europe. It will happen to clubs of QPR’s status more often than most, it will happen to QPR again this season, it will happen to Burnley and Leicester and Palace and Hull and Swansea ad others this season, it will happen whether you run your arse into the ground or not. In the modern Premier League, it happens. QPR will play worse teams when they’re fitter, settled and used to playing with each other. Leagues and relegations are not won and lost in August after two matches.

But the attitude, effort, body-language, and all those things this club had promised they’d sorted, promised they’d changed, promised they’d never let us down on again, was there for all to see. That needs correcting first and foremost, before we even start talking about systems, shapes and team selections.

That familiar sound of an alarm bell is ringing in the ears of QPR fans once more.

Please Rangers, don’t do this to us again.

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Spurs: Lloris 6; Dier 8, Kaboul 7, Vertonghen 7, Rose 7; Bentaleb 7 (Dembélé 59, 6), Capoue 7; Eriksen 8, Lamela 8, Cadli 8 (Kane 69, 6); Adebayor 7 (Soldado 80, 6)

Subs not used: Lennon, Holtby, Friedel, Davies

Goals: Chadli 12 (assisted Adebayor), 37 (assisted Lamela), Dier 30 (assisted Lamela), Adebayor 65

QPR: Green 6; Caulker 5, Ferdinand 5, Dunne 2 (Onuoha 46, 6); Isla 4, Traore 5; Barton 5, Fer 4 (Faurlin 68, 6), Mutch 4; Phillips 3 (Zamora 74, 6), Remy 3

Subs not used: Simpson, Wright-Phillips, Murphy, Hoilett

Bookings: Fer 63 (foul)

QPR Star Man – Ale Faurlin 6 Tempting not to award a star man, particularly as Tottenham had obviously declared and given up by the time that Faurlin came on, but having somebody who was capable of completing passes crisply and accurately, while competing for possession with tackles and headers when Rangers didn’t have the ball, made a hell of a difference. Faurlin was QPR’s best player against PAOK in the final pre-season game, he was the best player in the game against Shamrock Rovers in Ireland, he was the best player on the pitch for the first hour against Hull last week, and yet he’s the one dropped to make way for Fer who has barely trained with his new team mates and looked miles off the pace. Redknapp does himself, and his team, few favours with decisions like that.

Referee – Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) 6 Very little to referee, as one of the teams was completely uncompetitive and refused to put a tackle in of any kind, but I thought the Fer booking was an absolute joke of a decision. A bouncing ball, in the six yard box, with defenders scrambling to get back, and he gets booked for trying to force it into the net? What’s he meant to do? Stand there and think “oh well it’s a chance of a goal, but it’s a little bit high off the ground so I’ll just leave it be.”

Attendance 36,109 (1,700 QPR approx) An odd atmosphere at times in the second half, with the game clearly won and large chunks of the away support leaving early, White Hart Lane was actually quite quiet considering Spurs were three, and later four, goals up. Such an uncompetitive game, and inevitable result, hardly helped. The QPR fans with the Palestinian flag is probably a debate for elsewhere, but it wasn’t dealt with at all professionally by the stewards, who actually ended up wrestling with him on the steps, barreling into other spectators and children. They’ll get far worse related to that political situation at White Hart Lane when the likes of West Ham and Chelsea get there this season and if they can’t cope with one drunk idiot waving a flag about and making a bit of a scene they’re going to have problems.

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Match82 added 23:56 - Aug 25
Good report, painful as it was to live through that a second time.

On the goal from the corner, Barton was on that post, but came charging out as soon as it was taken. Which may be why Green appears to be yelling at him above, and rightly so.

ichbinnaughty added 00:10 - Aug 26
Spot on Clive - you have effectively lifted the top of my skull off and captured all the bitter disappointment, anger, deflatedness and fear that has been swilling around in there since Sunday afternoon.
All the hallmarks of different season, same old QPR disease.
Please don't do this to me again.
I try to counter this misery by recalling that it's such a new team (Caulker, Ferdinand, Mutch, Remy [really]= second game; and Isla & Fer = first game).
Too much too soon from Arry.
It was abject though. These tits are still paid handsomely and I expect them to make it competitive at the very least.

JAPRANGERS added 00:18 - Aug 26
Superb report as ever Clive! Awful performance indeed, just wonder how'll they''ll react against Sunderland now??

Jon_in_Oz added 00:21 - Aug 26
Great report as always Clive. I thought it was Fer who lost Dier for the near post header but regardless it was a truly woeful performance, one of the worst I can recall seeing from any QPR side in my lifetime (I'm 47!). As you say it was straight out of 2 years ago and most of them need a good smack around the head and told to pull their finger out. There were so many shocking efforts (or lack of it) from our players that it's almost pointless talking about individual people. The effort levels need to go up by 100% minimum and what's worrying is the fitness levels, as you rightly point out. If they aren't fit enough then we've got a huge problem.

'Arry's judgement in persisting in starting with Dunne in a back 3 at this level is very worrying - I would say that 95% of our fanbase could have told him that to do so away to Spurs would be total madness but a guy who is paid a very large sum of money to make these decisions couldn't see it would be a problem. It's seriously scary stuff.

Kaos_Agent added 00:37 - Aug 26
Thanks Clive. Looking forward to another year of your insightful commentary on this never-boring team. Only 2 games in and the forum is already ablaze.

Please Harry, not another year of head-scratching selections followed by more of the same next time out. This is getting really old.

"the attitude, effort, body-language, and all those things this club had promised they’d sorted, promised they’d changed, promised they’d never let us down on again, was there for all to see".

Steve Black may have his work cut out already, although I think this display was more the result of a poorly chosen, poorly knit, poorly prepared team with high hopes running head first into a juggernaut. The attitude problem is not chronic. Yet.

Cornish_oooRRRR added 00:51 - Aug 26
3! Was Remi really that bad? Oh dear. Watch out for mentioning that the Philips miss MAY have had some influence on the game. Positives: he hasn't played SWP yet

062259 added 02:28 - Aug 26
Far too early to panic, despite the putrid performance. The greater concern is that Harry has simply lost the plot. The signs were there last season and still appear to be present. Causes for optimism include the fact that we still have 36 games to play(!), the players need time to get used to each other and Hoddle is there in the background. So long as Hoddle hasn't lost the plot as well, then we already have a plan B. Hoddle deserves credit for turning down Crystal Palace out of respect for Harry's offer to bring him back to top flight football. QPR fans may have even more to thank him for before the end of the season. Having said that, one of the tabloids was reporting Monday that Sherwood was already waiting in the wings...not sure about him, but I do think he got a bit of a raw deal at Spurs and wouldn't be the worst choice in the world. Let's face it, Harry is the oldest manager in the top 4 divisons....he can't go on forever.

qprmick added 02:29 - Aug 26
A complete lack of preparation for the new season. We had plenty of time to prepare and we have coaches coming out of out ears. This team needs a good talk about taking responsibility. I can only take heart from Spurs, poor start to the season last year.

hopekillsyou added 07:42 - Aug 26
Great article. Appalling, abysmal, abject display by the Rs. It was worse than the early away performances in the 12-13 season under Hughes. The lack of energy, commitment and belief in the team, allied to poor selection and tactical ineptitude, is worrying....frightening even.
Redknapp looks and sounds tired. It looks like Ferdinand could well become a liability forcing us to play 3 at the back to protect his legs. Hodfle has an abysmal record in management and doesn't inspire confidence.
It's time for a change.I understand that Pulis is available( do we get Gerry F too!)

BasingstokeR added 07:45 - Aug 26
Good report Clive. "4 for Fer' is very generous; taking into account the fee thats one of the worst QPR debuts I've seen live. That the team didn't / don't look confident enough to hold the ball in possession for any period of time is worrying.

Marshy added 08:12 - Aug 26
I wouldn't disagree with anything in your report. It's ironic for Ale Faurlin to be awarded man of the match on 6 having only played about 20 minutes, and also with Rob Green on 6 having let in 4 goals. It really sums up how poor this performance was. The most alarming thing for me was that we just stood off, letting Spurs have all the possession and hardly attempting any tackles. There was absolutely no competitive spirt. The fact is, and I have said it many times before, Harry Redknapp is tactically inept. This also goes for Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan. It's no wonder he felt the need to bring in Steve McClaren and now Glen Hoddle.

snanker added 08:18 - Aug 26
That really was an R's amateur hour and a half from what I saw. Even tho Zamora, Phillips and Caulker all squandered great chances Spurs could have doubled there 4 goals with any luck. Pub landlord looked well groggy and did they all drop a valium or similar before kick off ? Signs already disturbing and what chances we get a Vauxhall Motors result mid week perhaps ! 'Arry sharpen up its the 21st century for god sake, give some of the blokes who took us up first call to make other signings actually earn their hoops. Lucky the Red Green & White supporter didn't cop a shot across the bow's !

probbo added 08:34 - Aug 26
Thanks for the report Clive. The problem with Redknapp is that he seems to think buying lots of players will be the cure to all our ills. He's a one trick pony. But rather than integrating them gradually (ie put them on the bench for a couple of weeks, give them 10-15 mins, show what they can do in training and let them play their way in to the team once they are actually FIT) he throws an unfit Fer and (Premier League newbie) Isla in to the starting 11 and expects some sort of immediate success. It must be incredibly dispiriting for Simpson and Faurlin, who surely weren't so bad against Hull to warrant being dropped for these two. Also we shouldn't forget it was Redknapp who forked out £12m for Chris Samba who was useless and admitted himself (once relegated) he was never fully fit for Premier League. I fear its only a matter of time before chants of 'you don't know what your doing' ring round Loftus Road. He's a top man is 'Arry but spending a fortune is no good if you can't gel the players in to a decent team. And tactically I think he's out of his depth in this League - let's hope Hoddle can do something with this lot.

I must admit I wasn't really expecting to get much from Spurs away but what a poor performance all round.

stevec added 08:54 - Aug 26
Spot on about everything there. Respect what you say about Barton and his insistence on taking every dead ball but think he is the one player I would defend in that debacle, virtually a one man midfield in the first 70 minutes and gave his all.


Recoilboss added 09:15 - Aug 26
Thanks for articulating my feelings about R's fitness & preparation plus Harry's on-going dubious selections & tactics. What does Carl Serrant ('strength & conditioning') actually do at Loftus Road?

Got a real sense of the seething anger in your report which we can all empathise with. We clawed ourselves into this league by the skin of our teeth and then, when we arrive in exalted company, produce that dross. Utterly embarrassing. I wonder how the whole of Derby feels.

QPRski added 09:21 - Aug 26
A very truthful report.

The optimism was sky high after Wembley, the good signings and the unlucky Hull match, but this match was a reality check and a throw-back to our previous outing in the Premiership.

We really looked like a pub team against professionals. Let's "hope" it was a one off but there needs to be much work and training behind the scenes.


Antti_Heinola added 10:17 - Aug 26
Thanks Clive - a very rare 2/10 in there. Christ. Although obviously just about anyone could have pointed out the lack of mobility in a back 3 that has both Dunne and Rio.
I don't think it's necessarily time to chuck out the 3 at the back idea - but the players do need to learn how to play it and what to do if the oppo has one up front and 4 players making runs from deeper. for that you need intelligent defenders who can make smart decisions - and pace. Do we have that?

terryb added 11:21 - Aug 26
Only one thing I can correct from that report Clive.

It ws Ale Faurlin who took the last corner that Caulker should have scored from.

In itself that is unimportant apart from the fact that it was the only corner that "our Joey" didn't take!

In twenty minutes Faurlin won as many tackles as Barton, Fer & Mutch did combined in the first seventy & completed far more passes than the rest of the team did in the full ninety!

Never mind, he will probably be replaced on the bench with Karl Henry this saturday & join Suk Young as the over age players in the Under 21's!

PinnerPaul added 11:31 - Aug 26
Thanks Clive, good report, well put, without some of the hysteria on the forum.

Ironic that we had a thread on Friday hailing the transfer business done to date, but as illustrated on Sunday, that's only half (maybe not even that) the task in hand.

Will be interesting to see team selection for tomorrow and the "energy" of those that do play.

As you quite rightly say, however good or bad you are, in form or not, cost £1M or £20M, the lack of energy/effort/commitment was alarming and something we don't want to see again.

Two final points I want to make - that lack of energy can't really be laid at HR's door, any player should be able to produce that regardless of who is in charge - some are also calling it worse display in umpteen years -nonsense we've had several abject displays in our previous visits to the PL - Fulham away and Liverpool at home were all as embarrassing. Plenty of other woeful performances as well against far worse teams than Spurs.

10 wins, 10 draws still needed and its now 36 games, not 38 - its worse that it was before Hull, but statistically at least, not much!

ibnumber10 added 11:31 - Aug 26
Pretty honest report Clive.
It was a complete waste of 2 x £37 tickets and the time spent driving there and back for me.
Dunne was poor and deserved a 2.
Remy wasn't much better but probably shaded Dunne because he stayed on the pitch!
Although when Zamora came on Remy seemed more comfortable on the left and got a bit more of the ball. He probably was relieved that he didn't have Kaboul smashing into him, he really doesn't look up to much at the moment. Perhaps he's still feeling sorry for himself about not geting that Liverpool move.
Zamora and Onuoha seemed to add some backbone and strength to our team when they came on, but our defensive shape was all over the place.
The 4th goal was shameful, Rose got away from Onuoha but the cover provided by Rio and Traore was terrible, we were wide open.
The whole team performance was awful but when you work out that Rio, Caulker, Mutch, Fer, Isla and Remy weren't here last season and Matt Phillips only just coming back from injury the sum of all of those negatives seemed to surface in the game.
There should be some improvement in alot of these players if only in terms of fitness, but we need a better plan / system for these away games, otherwise it's going to be very painful.
On top of all the new faces throw in a 3-5-2 system and it's going to take plenty of coaching hours on the training pitch to get this right, plus I don't think Harry has worked out his most effective 10 outfield players, cue more last minute transfer activity, with maybe a few going out on loan, because I can't see Traore and Dunne adding anything positive to the team.

TacticalR added 13:08 - Aug 26
There was a horrible period in the first half when we didn't seem to have any defence, any midfield or any attack.

Nobody distinguished themselves, but here are my random observations on individual players...

Phillips. Looked off form, and very uncomfortable on the left. Great chance to score in the first half, which at least might have given us some respectability.

Dunne. I don't blame him for the first goal as he got caught between two opposition players, when the rest of the defence had got drawn towards the ball.

Fer. Seemed completely out of it. Got beaten by Dier for the second goal. Terrible casual pass nearly created a goal for Tottenham on the break in the second half.

Faurlin. Looked composed and had a good influence when he came on.

Mutch. Didn't seem to know what he was doing.

Ferdinand. Beginning to look like Ferdinand the Younger.

Caulker. Two headers from corners, neither of which hit the target. He could be useful source of goals for us this season if he can get his headers on target.

Discodroid added 13:17 - Aug 26
you dont think the game hinged on matty boys miss then!!.

at least none of the players got ebola. which i am very happy about.

i thought you marked traore 5 points too high as well.

qprewan added 13:45 - Aug 26
Thanks Clive, you have an uncanny knack of always putting into words what we are all feeling.
Although some are saying that there has been an over reaction to HR I really don't agree; the signs have been there for ages- yes we went up last season and all had one of the best days of our life at Wembley but let's be honest we were lucky. There were numerous games where we were dire; Charlton, Wednesday, Bournemouth, Blackburn away and not to mention all the games against the top teams. And now he thinks it acceptable to play Richard Dunne on his wrong side against a pacey Spurs team!
As you say he remains stubbornly routed to the bench- I don't believe that he has anything much to say but you are right he could at least show some solidarity with his team. He will no doubt be making some use of his tombola machine but some things will never change- certain players will remain untouchable whilst others will be frozen out. Maybe he will see the light with Dunne but don't ever expect to see chief picked ahead of Ferdinand.

I fully expected to lose on Sunday but the manner of the defeat was truly abject.To watch an unfit team with no self belief and all clearly struggling with Harry's brave new world of 352 was worse than embarrassing. Now the wingers seem to be have been made surplus to requirements and Adel sulks and trains on his own I wonder yet again who is going to provide any creativity within the team?

billericaydicky added 14:09 - Aug 26
An excellent report as always Clive, which sums it up for me - the lack of tackles, no marking at corners, men on posts (lack of), Fer and Dunne for Faurlin and Nedum, missed sitters...the list goes on.

The Redknapp waving thing was the icing on the piss-taking cake for me and summed up one hell of a miserable Sunday.

hopekillsyou added 14:36 - Aug 26
I hope Fernandes & co have learned lessons from 11-12 and 12-13 and will not wait until we are bottom after,say, 10 games with hardly any points on the board before making a change. Looking at the situation rationally, even if we have a reasonable season ( = avoiding relegation?) there's a very high likelihood that Redknapp will be off to a golf course on the south coast. I was surprised that he chose to stay after May - maybe infected by the spirit of our miraculous Wembley victory.

We cannot afford - again- to get into a situation where we are firefighting for most of the season. Given there is managerial talent currently available- Pulis, Zola.. and others, this is the time to be business like, unsentimental and make decisions for the future. I suspect that if our performance on Saturday against Sunderland is even half as bad as it was against Spurs, we will see a change next week.

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