Date: 16th December 2011 at 5:53pm
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Vital Spurs editor OxfordSpur gives us another White Hart Lane-view on Sunday’s game

Vital Spurs ed. OxfordSpur gives us a different take on life at the Lane…What were your hopes, fears and expectations for the forthcoming season?

My hope is to get a top four place at the end of the season. Of course it is easy to get carried away as some of the media have at us potentially challenging or even winning the title, but for me that is premature or unrealistic, but whilst is as even a slight possibility, it is hard not to dream.

The negative to the season could well happen in five weeks time when Harry Redknapp is in court against the Tax man, where if he loses he could lose his liberty and of course his job. What that would do to our season is anyone’s guess, but I can’t see too many positives.

On balance, this Spurs side is definitely strong enough to be a comfortable top four side this season and I can see ourselves, Chelsea and the two Manchester’s taking the top places. I would take 4th now of offered, I’m not greedy…

How will Sunday’s defeat to Stoke affect the side?

I think the players will not be unduly affected by it to be honest and I hope to see a positive reaction. On the day, Stoke started really strongly, but over all Spurs dominated possession and controlled much of the game, with so many terrible decisions going against them (I will leave you to judge that, if you watched MOTD). If this team is to mount a genuine challenge for the top places and silverware, you don’t expect one defeat to drastically change their form or confidence and it shouldn’t be at all difficult for Harry to get the players really fired up to make a statement, with a strong performance on Sunday.

How much of an impact have Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor had?

Absolutely outstanding! Without wishing to brag, I was very much for both

ignings, as I felt they were the right characters, as well as the right type of players, and they have proved any doubters wrong with great performance, attitude and team ethic. In Adebayor, he works endlessly to get space or to split the opposition defence and in doing so makes plenty of room for others, especially Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon from wide. The fact that he has great speed and physical stature is ideal for how we play and the fact he is scoring at a good rate in a wonderful bonus.

I have always been a massive Parker fan and not only for his individual ability, but also for his work-rate (again), but also that he allows his team mates to play, because of his outstanding team ethic and unselfish game. The improvement in Luka Modric is very much down to Parker doing much of his defensive work and allowing the little man to play a more creative play-making role, which has had a huge impact on the team as a whole.

Will you be able to keep Adebayor beyond this season?

You get the impression that the player is really enjoying his time with us and in footballing terms, you feel he would sign a permanent deal tomorrow, but the fact that he is on such a massive wage with City, it all depends on what deal can be arranged between the parties, but would you take a near 100 grand a week pay cut, unless you had no other choice? You feel that if City are willing to pay him off to leave or sell him for a fee that allows the buyer to pay a signing on fee to compensate the difference between wages, it could easily happen, but has his form attracted another club who would/could pay more that Spurs and is money or football his biggest motivation?

Is Harry Redknapp going to be at White Hart Lane after the Euros?

Above any individual player, I want Harry to stay at the club. The reality is however that should England come calling, you feel he might not be able to refuse. However is that job more attractive than taking Spurs back into the Champions league. The England job isn’t quite as attractive as it once was and I do wonder when push comes to shove that he could find international management both too restrictive and also not active enough, but equally if he loses his court case, would The FA consider him for the position? Perhaps the best chance of Spurs keeping him is for him to get a conviction and a slapped wrist of some sort, which leaves the England door closed. Not ideal, but it could very well happen.

Who is the key man to watch out for on Sunday?

To be honest, there are so many at the moment. The obvious name is Luka Modric, who is outstanding at the moment, but so too are Bale and Lennon on either wing and re-read my comments about Emmanuel Adebayor, two questions ago to understand the threat he poses. Add the quality and intelligence of Rafael Van der Vaart and Scott Parker, The experience and organisational qualities of Ledley King, William Gallas and Brad Friedel and the

utstanding full back play of Kyle Walker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto and I think you have enough to worry about, but let’s not forget a bench that could include, Jermain Defoe, Sandro, Sebastien Bassong, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Niko Kranjcar and you can forget one individual…

Where will you finish this season?

Fourth, behind the Manchester’s and Chelsea, but in saying that, the gap between us, Chelsea and United is perhaps more about their experience of success and facing the highest pressure over a sustained period that definitely counts in their favour. Man for man I think it is now very close, with Liverpool and Arsenal not a million miles behind, but until we have been in a situation like this, we have no idea how we will react, but we do now have players that have played and competed at the very highest level, which will help, but perhaps not yet quite enough.

Match prediction?

3-0 Spurs! We are good at home and will be looking to make a statement after the Stoke defeat. Even with the arrival of Martin O’Neil, I don’t think you have the quality or momentum to cause an upset, but in the longer term I think he was the perfect appointment and one that will give you stability

nd perhaps more you crave and deserve.

Cheers OxfordSpur. What I really want to know is where have all the self-loathing Spurs fans gone? That`s two interviews and two very positive responses now – we need more balance!


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