Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Fulham v Spurs 31.01.04 - Comment
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Fulham v Spurs 31.01.04 - Analysis

Bruce Lewis used to be the webmaster of the Daddy of all unofficial Spurs websites - "The Legend". As you can read on the page linked here, I used to write match reports for Bruce's site, and that's how I got started in this webmastering game!

Bruce and his wife Elaine are long-standing home and away season ticket holders, and travelled to the DC United game this year, and went to our last European games in Germany and Moldova, of all places. Bruce cast his critical eye over the Spurs performance at Loftus Road yesterday, and has kindly allowed me to publish his views here:-

"Surprisingly, I think I am still to see Spurs win at Loftus Road. The few times I saw Spurs play QPR there in league and pre-season games we only drew or lost, and we haven't done Fulham there yet either. I guess that shows how pathetic Tottenham's attempts there have been, I think I've been there about six or seven times in all.

For me, Pleat lost this game for us. I know it's only the players on the pitch who do the actual performing, but bringing Ziege back straightaway proves that there is an inner circle of players who will always play no matter how well the younger players perform. I mean, the revelation that is Johnnie Jackson did not only not start, but didn't even come on when it was evident that almost every left-sided player was having a bad game. Ziege on his first game back was giving away fouls, got booked, and as he was at risk of being sent off, he couldn't be effective enough. Davies was starting to get sloppy, and Postiga was Postiga. Supported by the fans but again no end result.

Jacko though may have turned it, or brought something fresh, but as last season when Hoddle didn't play Keane when he was needed in this fixture, and we were throwing it away, we went through it all again waiting for Jackson to come on when he didn't. With five subs on the bench, surely some kind of change should have been forthcoming.

The last two games now we are heading back towards where we were in December. At City we had a first half that was as bad as anything we have seen; we only scored a goal in that game because the City keeper failed to connect with the ball, and yesterday we only scored because we obtained that rarest of rarities, a Spurs penalty. So in the last two games we have failed to make and capitalise on a good goalscoring chance. Man U must be quaking in their boots.

Dalmat constantly had three men on him. As with Ginola, this takes men away from the other Spurs players, but when it opens up this way we still failed to do anything about it.

Only Keane and Doherty should be able to claim their wages this week. Keane was all over the front line trying to bring people in and set things up, and had a good game. The Doc again suspends disbelief that such a slow player can outperform almost everyone else, fantastic.

Gardner for me walks around in a daze, more happy to appeal for offside than to do any real work. His passing is abysmal and I think will be one of the first up against the wall when a proper manager comes in.

Stevie boy did okay, although not as spectacular as he can be, and King and Brown pretty much failed to create. Brown I can understand to be honest, as his job seems to be more to break things up and is new to this level, but King has no excuse. He sets up nothing in most games, and for an experienced player now, contributed more than anyone to a weak midfield. He can't defend and can't create, and I constantly question his inclusion.

Which brings me onto Keller. One world class save does not a keeper make. The amount of abuse he received for his appalling distribution yesterday reached a new level. Most goal kicks went off for throw ins, and he almost never threw the ball out to a Spurs player after collecting it. He was at fault for the second Fulham goal; he threw the ball out in such a poor fashion that Fulham got hold of it very quickly and won the corner that they scored from. I haven't yet seen the goal on tv (do I want to?) but if he fumbled for it then he will have lost a lot of friends. His distribution has always been poor, and I don't think I have really seen anyone's as bad as this. When you think about it we lose a lot of goals because of this; not just the goals we concede, but the goals we may have scored from a quick clearance at the back. Teams do score a proportion of goals on the back of a quick clearance from the keeper, but oh no, not us. When was the last time we scored a goal that was keeper to defender or midfielder to attacker then goal? Not often in recent times.

The back line also seems to find great difficulty in getting the ball forward. This is a combination of a lack of intelligence in the midfield that prevents an easy ball being made to a midfielder in space, and also the lack of intelligence at the back that can create a decent pass. Too many hospital balls get made, we can't pick them up and we quickly lose possession.

A new manager will have plenty to work on and fix when he arrives. There are a few players who may never see the light of day again when that happens. For me, King and perhaps Gardner have had time to get used to the Premiership, they may be young, but they are doing things they shouldn't, and not doing things that they ought to."

Read the original match report here.

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