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MARTIN SAMUEL: There's never a dull moment in Harry Redknapp's game

13 Dec 2010 11:41:11

MARTIN SAMUEL: There's never a dull moment in Harry Redknapp's game

Any reservations about the prospect of Harry Redknapp becoming England manager would be purely selfish ones. Put simply, we will miss him if he goes. We will miss watching his football every week, we will miss its freewheeling style and the element of risk. English club football needs more bosses like Redknapp throwing caution to the wind. Make the most of him because if he succeeds Fabio Capello, the Premier League will lose a little of its shine. In charge: Spurs have excelled under the influence of Redknapp Tottenham Hotspur are good for roughly 50 matches each season, while England play about 10 and half are friendlies. That is a lot of entertainment value gone astray. Redknapp sends his team out to go hammer and tongs at supposedly superior opponents, and we all enjoy the view. There are very few dull moments at White Hart Lane these days, and that is the work of the manager. Redknapp has tapped into the traditions of Tottenham, which mirror his instincts as a coach. Martin Jol came very close to qualifying for the Champions League, but never put it up to his biggest rivals the way Tottenham do now. Good times at the Lane: Spurs celebrate after taking the lead Whatever this season holds for the club, the football has not been as good as this for a long time. Spurs are the most welcome addition to the highest echelons of the Premier League since Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United (the first incarnation, not its bastard offspring). Manchester City's time at the top may last longer but, right now, Tottenham are more fun to have around. They bring out the best in others, too, the free-spirited end-to-end play of the first-half here inspiring Chelsea to a second-half display that constituted a revival of sorts, even if this is now their longest run of Premier League games without a win since 1999 when Gianluca Vialli was in charge. Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, admitted he sent his team out to play Tottenham on the counter attack - this was why Nicolas Anelka was preferred to Didier Drogba from the start - but was forced to change tack when Tottenham's attacking commitment resulted in a 15th-minute goal. Other teams may have tried to play Chelsea at their own game, cat and mouse. Tottenham preferred to rush them with wing play, two strikers and the invention of Luka Modric in central midfield. Redknapp's methods are simple: he produces teams that play the football he likes to watch. Maybe he will one day produce an England team in that fashion, too - but it won't be on show every week, as Tottenham are, more is the pity. 'I've got good wide men, so I play them,' was Redknapp's simple explanation of Tottenham's style. 'I want to play Gareth Bale, I want to play Aaron Lennon, and I want to play two front men because when the wingers are pulling everybody out of position, there are going to be bigger spaces for the strikers to use. 'I like playing this way and I won't be changing. I enjoy watching open football, so I enjoy watching my teams play. I'd rather be going home on Saturday night knowing that at least we gave it a go. I'd hate drawing 0-0 or losing 1-0 and knowing that we never really went for it. I think we can hurt anybody with our style and that is what I tell the players before every game. I was still saying it at half-time here. The last thing I wanted us to do was try to defend a 1-0 lead.' Making a point: Drogba struts in front of the Chelsea fans after scoring his side's equaliser Yet that was Tottenham's mistake. They showed Chelsea a little too much respect after half-time, defended too deep. They would have been better not changing a thing, letting Bale tear into Paulo Ferreira the way he did Maicon of Inter Milan. Perhaps the half-time introduction of Drogba rattled them. Chelsea looked considerably more dangerous once he arrived and, whatever Ancelotti thinks of Anelka's superior pace, there is nothing quite like a beating from Drogba to unsettle a defender, as Michael Dawson discovered after 70 minutes. He bounced off the Ivory Coast striker in the air and, in a flash, the ball was in the net. If Chelsea's season does turn from here, that will be the catalyst for the change in direction. Drogba is such an awkward customer, inspiring and infuriating in equal measure. His goal was brilliant, its aftermath pure arrogance. Having scored, he walked slowly across the pitch and paraded before the Chelsea supporters, with no hint of celebration. Hands up: the Chelsea striker gestures to the away fans after the game He is said to have attracted a negative reaction in some of Chelsea's recent matches and here was his answer. Perhaps a finer response would have been to score more than two goals in the league since October 3; or to have scored the injury-time penalty that would have won the game. He is a magnificent player, but not always a team player, in that he rarely places the needs of his colleagues before his emotions. His injury-time dismissal in the 2008 Champions League final with Manchester United - when the game was clearly going to penalties, and he would be among the five takers - was the most dramatic example of that failing, but yesterday's performance had similarities. If Drogba thought less about scoring points and more about collecting them, he might have struck a better spot-kick than the one saved by Heurelho Gomes. It was not near enough to the corner and pitched at the perfect height for a diving save. Maybe he was already planning the strut that would follow. He did not get to walk the walk, or talk the talk, but instead ended up apologising to the fans at the final whistle using sign language. This is too much palaver to be healthy. Better to be entertained by the football rather than the soap opera, which is where Tottenham continue to score over Chelsea, even if they trail them in the league table.  Spurs 1 Chelsea 1: Drogba only half punishes Gomes gaffesChelsea skipper John Terry buoyed by dominant display against TottenhamTottenham on alert as promising Inter Milan defender Santon considers exitTOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC


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