I’m sure most Tottenham fans would have been distraught by Wednesdays result with PAOK, but for me I think Tottenham got exactly what they deserved. Even though we are not yet out of it mathematically, in hindsight it will take some sort of miracle to get us through to the knockout stages.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a tad upset about not qualifying , yet I don’t feel hurt about it either. Not only did we take this competition for granted, we treated it with absolute disdain.
Five games I have had to endure in this season’s Europa League and not one of them have been a spectacle. Instead we have just had to watch 90 minutes of dire and unconvincing performances. Even Shamrock Rovers gave us a scare.
European football at the Lane was exuberant and exhilarating last year, and despite the fact that the Europa League is of less significance and less magical, it is still a cup that I would have liked us to win. No disrespect to the other teams, but this was a competition that was there for the taking. On paper you would have had us down as one of the favourites to go on and win this cup. Instead we have just let this opportunity slip from the palm of our hands- and for what?
I know this cup was used as a chance for some of the younger players to get experience, but in the modern game there just isn’t time for this. Developing youngsters take time, effort and patience, which in football lingo is not acceptable. As football these days demands instant success, managers do not have enough time to develop and focus on youngsters.
Redknapp admitted towards the end of last season that he wasn’t really a fan of the Europa League and that he would use this competition to showcase some of the younger players and fringe players.
They may have got experience playing across Europe and playing in competitive matches, but I don’t personally see failure as a good experience to draw upon. The only thing Harry should learn from this is that in the future he shouldn’t have so much faith on the less experienced players and put more of the senior players in the squad- Rafael Van Der Vaart springs to mind.
We have seen some of more youthful players emerge onto the scene i.e. Harry Kane, Andros Townsend, Danny Rose, Jake Livermore and Thomas Carroll and lets be honest none of them have a future with the team. They are just not good enough to break into the Tottenham team.
Lets face facts, it might be harsh and cruel, but so what, who cares if your young. Football is football-if you’re good, talented and special then age shouldn’t be a problem. Age is only called upon as an excuse to protect the players.
They are all talented players don’t get me wrong and all have some unique quality about them; but when I have watched them this season, there is no panache or style to them that separates them from the rest.
It’s not only Tottenham; Arsenal have once again failed in this season’s Carling Cup and while many say it was a shock result, I had every bit of confidence in Palace that they were going to win at Old Trafford after I saw United’s team come out in the second half.
Teams seem to forget this is a cup, not a pre season friendly where they can take the game lightly. Don’t they remember that there is a cup at stake? Liverpool and City have taken the cup seriously and their results have shown dividends. I applaud both their respective managers and say fair play to both those teams for trying to field a strong team.
If the top teams are so concerned about playing youngsters in a competitive environment then maybe the FA should think about adopting Spain’s system. Spain do not have a reserve league, and depending on the quality of the clubs B team, they can be found in any league.
Barcelona’s B team are currently playing in Spain’s Segunda division rather than playing in a separate reserve league like we have here in England.
What we can draw from this Europa League experience is that there are certain players in this team that are not good enough and some that do have potential. Most of our senior players were to blame for last night’s misery and cannot be excused, but it was our fault that we took this cup for granted.
Let’s just hope this doesn’t affect our Premier League form, but instead hopefully makes us stronger. It is yesterday’s news and our team should just focus now on getting back to winning ways starting with Bolton this Saturday.