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Tottenham's Bad Decisions
Guardian, October 20th, 2008 1:30PM
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Tottenham Hotspur's disastrous start to the English Premier League campaign, with just two points from its first eight games, can be traced back to poor decision-making, writes Paul Doyle. The weekend's 2-1 defeat at Stoke City left the team, which had seriously talked preseason about challenging for a Champions League spot, three points adrift at the bottom of the table.

"Ill-considered actions have got Spurs to where they are now," writes Doyle. "Chiefly, their recruitment has been counter-productive. Before this campaign they had Aaron Lennon on the right but were weak on the left ... so they went and splurged £15m [$26 million] on David Bentley, a right-winger."

They also spent $24 million on Roman Pavlyuchenko "before discovering he's essentially a replacement for Darren Bent, the one member of last season's striking quartet that they hadn't sold," while the midfield lacks a linchpin, "suggesting that two years on they still haven't replaced Michael Carrick," sold to Manchester United.

Doyle expects the club's shareholders' meeting next month to address the problem by giving manager Juande Ramos more power and either deposing or sidelining Damien Comolli, presently director of football, which "makes a sort of sense. Comolli's record at Spurs has been drab, Ramos' before Spurs brilliant (indeed, lest we forget, his first six months at the Lane were also good)." But Ramos' game-day decision making has also been suspect, witnessed by his preference for Croatian defender Vedran Corluka over the now fit Ledley King, and substitutions made at Stoke just as the midfield was working well. When results go badly, says Doyle, it looks like Ramos "is making it up as he goes along."

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