When you concede goals similar to ones you have been conceding all
season, there is going to be no other outcome but another defeat and
that was what happened to Spurs today against Blackburn Rovers, even
though it was a better performance from the team.
There are still too many of the side
performing below the level of performance they showed last season and
that is hampering the team's need to get results. Two aspects are
of particular concern and that is the lack of leadership in the side and
the missing of chances. It is widely held that is is difficult for
the team to keep a clean sheet, so any chances that come along (and
lacking a bit of creativity in midfield, we are relying on a high level
of conversion even more) must hit the net. Berbatov, Keane and
Lennon all had acceptable chances, which Friedel kept out.
On the other side of the coin, Rovers had
about three shots and scored from two of them. Now, I know when
you are down luck goes against you, but the deflected first goal and the
second when a free-kick was not cleared effectively are goals which we
have seen go in past the Spurs keeper before. Both came from not
closing on the man in possession quick enough and this is an aspect of
the Tottenham defending which Ramos will need to improve rapidly.
Four bookings was a little harsh, as
Spurs were sinned against more than sinned themselves, but perhaps it
showed a bit more commitment from the players as they did well, but one
moment at the death undone all the good work they put in.
Spurs earned a penalty shortly after half
time, when Kaboul launched Lennon on a run into the area and Warnock
could only fall all over him from behind and Styles pointed to the spot.
Keano stepped up to take the kick, stuttered in his run up and slotted
it high above Friedel's dive to score.
As with all Tottenham leads, it looked a
bit shaky, even though we created a good chance for Lee, when Berbatov
flicked him in and his shot from eight yards out was well blocked for a
corner by the Rovers goalie. From the corner
Malbranque's drive was headed out by Emerton as it looked like it might
rip into the goal. Then, with 20 yards between McCarthy
and goal, he let fly and Dawson stuck out a leg to stop it, but it flew
into the net over Cerny, who had the original shot covered.
Again, we had a good chance to restore
the lead, when Keane crossed onto Dimitar's head and instead of doing
what you are taught as a schoolboy (head it down or where the goalkeeper
had just come from), his effort was in the right place for Friedel to
reach up and palm it over.
With the end in sight and a point being a
good record for the Clive Allen/Alex Inglethorpe management duo, they
suddenly learned what Martin Jol had been going through in the dug-out,
as a free-kick was half cleared and Santa Cruz played the ball into the
path of Samba on the edge of the area and he calmly bent his shot around
a defender and past Cerny into the net with 93 minutes on the clock.
How many more last minute goals we are going to concede this season I
But it had all started well, with
Berbatov and Malbranque hitting shots on target in the first few
minutes. In the tenth minute, Bentley took the ball around Lee on
the edge of the area, but with only Cerny to beat, he hit his left foot
shot well wide. Eight minutes later, a Huddlestone free-kick was
played in with pace and the ball fell just behind Michael Dawson's foot
and he tried to back-heel it goalwards, but the ball plopped into
Tottenham's best chance to take the lead
came in the 21st minute, when Steed's astute pass through the centre of
the Blackburn defence played Lennon in, but the Rovers goalie was out
like lightning and blocked his shot, with the ball bouncing off the
little man, but the ref awarding a corner. From it, the cleared
ball was played back into the edge of the area by Lee and Keane ran onto
it and as it came down, headed at goal, but the big keeper reached up to
beat it out for another corner.
Five minutes before half-time, one of the
few enjoyable moments of the afternoon happened. Robbie was
running across the pitch with the ball, when Robbie Savage slid in to
foul him from behind. Unluckily for the Welshman, but perhaps some
sort of divine retribution, he lay on the turf with a knee injury from
trying to foul someone else. His plight worsened as he tried to
get substituted, but Hughes waved him back on, only for him to finally
exit just before the interval.
It was a quite bad tempered match, but
you expect that with Blackburn. Mokoena came on for Savage and
adopted his role as chief aggressor, when most things had nothing to do
with him, nor anything to moan about. Dunn committed a knowing
foul on Lennon as he got away, but Styles only decided to book him when
he kicked the ball away. Pedersen committed a studs up challenge
on Dawson which could quite easily have been a leg breaker and it led to
Zokora and Santa Cruz arguing about it and both picking up yellow cards
The lack of learning the team are doing
this season means that mistakes are being repeated and the results keep
going against us.
You have the feeling that Ramos will have
to learn quickly about the Premiership, about the players, about the
language and about the style of play.
We need to turn it around soon, otherwise
our position will become more entrenched with each passing week.