Steffen Freund and Sandro [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]

Tottenham Were Ill-Prepared For The Challenge Posed By West Ham

In the view of Tim Sherwood, I shouldn’t be writing this but Tottenham were ill-prepared for the challenge posed by West Ham at Upton Park.

After Tottenham’s defeat by West Ham, Tim Sherwood, in a response to a question, told TalkSport reporter, Ian Abrahams that his view was wrong as “he hadn’t played the game”. Abrahams tweeted:

Related Article:

Tim Sherwood’s Reaction to Defeat - Read more

So, as I definitely haven’t played the game, according to Tim Sherwood my views will be wrong and I shouldn’t be writing this blog. But not to worry, here goes anyway, and like Ian Abrahams, I would agree that Spurs lacked passion and never matched West Ham for commitment or work rate in any of the 90 plus minutes at Upton Park.

Spurs Were Ill-Prepared for The Game

I would say that Spurs were ill-prepared to meet the challenge they should have known would come from Sam Allardyce’s team.

  • Irrespective of West Ham’s recent form, they were going to be up for this game – it was their last home game of the season and after a poor run of results it was an opportunity to finish with a good result and give their fans something it cheer about. They were going to be motivated and play with energy and commitment.

The Spurs players should have known that and been ready for the intensity of that challenge – unfortunately they weren’t and surrendered the initiative to West Ham from the outset, maintaining this season’s slow, sluggish starts to games which has seen them fail to score in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League game this season.

  • With the home team’s work ethic they weren’t going to give the Spurs players time to dwell on the ball, they were playing a high tempo game, giving the Spurs midfield players no time on the ball.

Spurs should have been aware that that would be the case as that was the way West Ham played at White Hart Lane earlier in the season. It was very effective then and it worked equally successfully yesterday. Spurs wanted two or three touches on the ball by which time West Ham had closed them down to win possession or force a poor pass and regain the ball in that way.

  • With Andy Carroll in the team, West Ham were always going to provide a constant stream of long, high balls towards him. With that in  mind Spurs should have done a number of things:

i. planned a system to prevent Carroll winning the ball so easily or
ii. when that clearly wasn’t working they should have made sure that when he knocked the ball down, that they were there to compete for the loose ball or
iii. better still try to cut out the long ball at source by preventing West Ham playing the long ball towards him. That would have required Spurs to close players down and ensure they conceding fewer free-kicks and corners. Tottenham provided West Ham with too many opportunities from set-pieces to persevere with the tactic.

16 free-kicks, 10 corners conceded
Spurs were reckless in giving away so many free-kicks inviting West Ham to bombard their penalty area. West Ham have become the ‘new Stoke’ as they played under Tony Pulis. When playing against Stoke it was necessary to adapt your game and select a team prepared to stand up to the challenge and meet fire with fire in a controlled, disciplined fashion.

Those are basic tactics which everyone knew West Ham would use against Tottenham, the only people who seemed shocked and unprepared for the challenge presented by the home team were the Spurs players.

At the conclusion of yesterday’s match preview, I wrote,

‘The win is there for the taking for Spurs but they can’t take anything for granted and will need to match their expectations with commitment and application.’

Spurs were unprepared for the intensity of the game and didn’t show that commitment and application so they didn’t win and got what they deserved – a third successive defeat by West Ham who wanted to win so much more than Spurs and it was nothing to do with needing the points to avoid relegation as they were already safe barring the most unrealistic series of results – it was just that they cared about it more and wanted to beat Tottenham.

I may not have “played the game” but like thousands of other Tottenham supporters, I saw another poor Tottenham performance when the team failed to compete or pose any real threat to the opposition, even before the dismissal of Kaboul. But,of course, my view is “wrong”.

What is your view of Spurs performance in yesterday’s defeat at West Ham?


Tags: Ian Abrahams Ill-prepared Soccer Tim Sherwood Tottenham Hotspur

  • Martin Yeates

    Absolutely right and factual. Spurs players will be more prepared for their testimonial for Ledley King in two weeks, they were so relaxed. The Spurs coaching staff have been guilty of that since they took over in December. This has been Spurs worst season from a preparation point for many years. In fact the statement by Ferdinand earlier this season that they don’t see a need for a defensive midfielder is typical of their misunderstood attitude in picking the team yesterday with Sandro on the bench. The players (with the exception of Llauris and Dawson) weren’t too interested in winning yesterday. The free kick where Paulinho and Adebayor stepped aside and allowed the ball to sail through the wall and into the net was typical of the non-commitment and ‘couldn’t care less attitude’ prevalent within the squad all season. When the likes of Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp say that T Sherwood has had a great season they haven’t had to sit through some of the games I attended, home and away, they were ill-prepared for the task in so many instances. Sherwood will be leaving after the Aston Villa game and he should then go and get his qualifications to coach a team as Ferdinand should also do before they land another job. Yesterday Paulinho was a disgrace and Sherwood left him on far too long because he was doing more harm than good and we were playing with nine men from the minute Kaboul was sent off.

    • Logan Holmes

      Tim Sherwood has overseen wins against most of the teams you’d expect Spurs to beat – Norwich and WHU are the only two we’ve lost (I think), although it was a close call in quite a number of those games. If Llorios hadn’t had such a good season, we’d have been a lot worse of. Against the top sides were have been embarrassingly outplayed and outclassed.

      I fail to see what Ferdinand brings to the coaching staff and Sherwood needs to take his coaching qualifications and then start managing at a lower level to gain experience of all aspects of the job.

      Thanks for your comments. COYS!

  • Alan Hill

    To say that someone’s
    opinion on football isn’t valid because they haven’t played the game at the highest level is the
    common defence of sportsmen and managers who are over sensitive to criticism.
    It is an insult to the intelligence and shows a lack of education on the part
    of the sportsman concerned. It is like saying your opinion on a work of art is
    not valid unless you are a talented artist, or on a piece of music is not valid
    because you do not play a musical instrument.
    It would be like telling Tim Sherwood that his opinions on management
    are not valid because he has only been doing it for a few months and without the
    proper qualifications. I have 32 years’ experience of successfully managing
    teams of people in challenging situations that most football managers would not
    be capable of handling. I have a good
    education and 50 years’ experience of watching and studying football. So have
    many others. Just because we weren’t fit enough or lucky enough to play at the
    highest level does not invalidate our opinions on the game. Many of us are
    capable of a much higher level of intellectual analysis than a typical overpaid
    ex footballer. Anyone who expresses a view to the contrary is just highlighting
    his own ignorance. I don’t need to have a lifetime’s experience of examining
    excrement in a laboratory to know a pile of crap when I see it and I don’t have
    to be a plastic surgeon to recognise a beautiful woman when I see one.

    • Logan Holmes

      I think Tim has upset you Alan – I hope you’ve taken your tablets. LOL COYS!

  • New Tech News

    A man who doesn’t even have the requisite qualifications to hold his current job should not be telling anyone else their opinion is wrong based on a lack of knowledge from experience.

    • Logan Holmes

      Very true and it was a cope out to avoid asking a very valid question on something, lack of passion and effort, that we’ve all seen throughout the season.

  • Brian Draycott

    I have been a Spurs fan for over 65 years and for the very first time I switched channels to the snooker because I was absolutely disgusted with the performance put up by the players. To tell somebody they dont know what they are saying because they haven’t played the game is so rude to coaches who could teach Sherwood a thing or two. Mourinho, Wenger and even AVB weren’t recognised as being decent players have more nous in their little fingers than Tim Sherwood- I’ll be glad when the season ends and he’s gone!!!

    • Logan Holmes

      This is the first time ever when I’ve asked myself, on a number of occasions, why am I doing this? There have been poor performances before but the number of times this season there’s been no effort with players just going through the motions has been unbelievable.

      Sherwood’s comment was an easy cope out so as not to answer the question which was valid as there has been a total lack of passion and commitment this year.