Harry Redknapp Staying: 10 Things Tottenham's Manager Must Improve Next Season
The circus is over, and the rumors are squashed—Harry Redknapp is staying at Tottenham.
It's only been two matches, but with the FA deciding to pass over Redknapp for the Three Lions gig, Spurs have looked dominant—defeating Bolton 4-1 very, very convincingly and drawing 1-1 with Aston Villa.
Is it a coincidence that the week after Redknapp learns he's not coaching England, his Spurs go out and finish the last three matches by a score of 7-2?
It wasn't just a victory that North London fans were treated to. It was a demolition, an homage to the winter months of Spurs' season.
Tottenham has a very good chance at wrapping up fourth place and earning a spot in next season's Champions League (provided Chelsea doesn't win this year's Champions League at Bayern Munich). But what are some things Redknapp and the rest of the club need to do to make sure that Spurs' title hopes are a reality next season?
Join me as I give you the 10 things Redknapp needs to improve on next season to make sure the Premier League silverware comes back to White Hart Lane for the first time in 40 years.
Figuring out a Lineup He'll Stick With
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Do you remember Tottenham's lineup for their first match against Manchester United?
Of the 11 players who started, four—Michael Dawson, Jermain Defoe, Niko Kranjcar and Jake Livermore—are no longer starters.
Subs on the bench included Vedran Corluka, Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend.
Harry Redknapp needs to get summer transfer signings out of the way quicker, mostly because it'll allow him to get his lineup set.
Get Rid of the Troublemakers ASAP
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The Daily Mail reported in February that former Spurs striker Roman Pavlyuchenko "warned Tottenham he would sit out the remaining 18 months of his contract and leave for nothing if they did not let him sign for Lokomotiv Moscow."
This from a reserve striker.
Harry Redknapp needs to put his foot down next season and not deal with this kind of stuff. Ship out the divisive troublemakers no matter their perceived value.
For God's Sake, Start Better Than This Season
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If the first two matches of the season had ended differently, we could be seeing a very different title race.
Instead, Harry Redknapp hadn't quite figured out his proper starting lineup, opting to put Michael Dawson in at centre-back and Peter Crouch in at forward. Rafael Van Der Vaart was at the top of the formation instead of in a supporting role and Emmanuel Adebayor was nowhere to be seen.
Spurs suffered a 3-0 loss to Manchester United and a 5-1 loss to Manchester City and started the season at the bottom of the table with a minus-7 goal differential.
Hit the starting line running next season, Redknapp. You never know when you'll need an extra point or two.
Prioritize His Cups
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It might not even register as a blip on the radar after the season is over, but Tottenham's 0-0 draw with Stevenage in the fifth round of the FA Cup caused more than just a replay—it forced them to play a mid-week replay match in between fixtures against Manchester United and Everton.
These were fixtures (and six points) Tottenham lost.
Figure out what to do early on with the Carling Cup and the FA Cup. Will it be strictly for youth development? Are you going to try and win them all?
Harry Redknapp needs to prioritize the importance of each tournament and stick with it.
Pile on the Goals Early and Often
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Goal differential is important. Really important. So important that it'll most likely give us the difference between Premier League winners and runners-up.
It'll also separate fourth- and fifth-place in the table, a separation that divides Champions League from Europa League.
Whenever you can win, win big.
If you can win 2-1 against Blackburn, you can win 3-1. If Arsenal is in some kind of slump, don't just make it a 2-1 win—go for the kill, and make it a 4-1 game.
Aggressiveness in January Transfer Window
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We all know that January transfer windows don't make a champion—as B/R's Will Tidey so eloquently proved—but they certainly help fill in gaps that turn close losses into draws and help teams on the fence scratch out a late win.
Tottenham's latest transfer window saw us unload a couple of players and pick up Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen.
After Saha's two-goal performance at Newcastle United, we all thought Harry Redknapp had hit the lottery of lotteries. But the former Everton striker has slid into obscurity as the season's come to a close.
The Telegraph recently reported Redknapp "made enquiries" about Carlos Tevez. What a find he would have been, especially considering Spurs' lackluster offense in the month of March.
Next season, Redknapp needs to be more aggressive, go with his gut and nab quality guys to plug in the gaps.
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It's no coincidence that at the same time Harry Redknapp's tax trial was looming, Tottenham suffered a dramatic drop in consistency in form.
Redknapp's name was cleared on February 8th, but in the weeks leading up, his Spurs suffered a 3-2 loss to Manchester City and an embarrassing 0-0 draw to Liverpool, who were playing poorly at the time.
Not only that, but in the months that surrounded his getting close to the England job, Spurs went from second in the league table to as low as sixth.
Limit the distractions, and the team is exponentially better.
Protect Their House
Of the 18 matches they've played at White Hart Lane, Spurs have only won 12 of them.
Granted, they've got Fulham coming to Tottenham on Sunday, and I could see Harry Redknapp's men winning a close one, but 13 out of 18 just isn't the kind of home record that title teams finish the season with.
This year's winner will have at least 16 home wins, and if you include that, the Premier League winner for the last six years has had an average of 16.5 wins.
Tottenham's 13 wins just isn't good enough.
Put Up a Fight on the Road
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Yes, same goes for the road record.
A 7-6-6 record on the road? Tottenham's lucky to still be in contention for a Champions League spot.
Instead, he's looking at a home match against Fulham on Sunday as the difference between Champions League and Europa League.
Keep Hope Alive Through May
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Tottenham effectively lost any hold on this year's title on February 26th with their 5-2 loss to Arsenal.
No one, not even Spurs faithful in North London, thought the Premier League was attainable after that blowout. Although Tottenham wasn't mathematically eliminated, their season ended before March reared its cold, ugly head.
Both Manchester clubs, however, are still in the hunt.
They've kept their supporters energized and kept their momentum going, and they've carried that swagger into title hopes that are stretching into the final days of the season.
Harry Redknapp needs to keep Tottenham's hopes alive longer than this year to bring the league silverware back to White Hart Lane.