Tottenham Hotspur: Summing up the Season
Juande…Juande, Juande, Juande… He’s only been at Spurs for five months, and works with new players, most of which he has never worked with (or planned to work with). It only took 5 months to win a trophy.
I can safely say that the question of “What do I think of Juande Ramos?” should remain completely rhetorical. My answer is that he is already one of the best managers that Spurs have had.
Although I still think Martin Jol did exceedingly well too. He drove Spurs into 5th place in the Premiership twice in a row; It could’ve been 4th place if a food poisoning epidemic hadn’t hit the squad on the final fixture.
Mind you, looking at the start of the 07/08 season, Spurs hardly looked like Champions’ League quality. As a result of this, Jol was sacked by Chairman Daniel Levy to make way for the man who worked miracles for Sevilla, Juan De La Cruz Ramos Cano (Juande Ramos).
Ramos’ game management has been superb overall. I have to say that at the start of this season, when Martin Jol was in charge, I watched Spurs play nervously and when they played nervously, I got nervous too. But now I hardly ever watch Spurs with my heart in my mouth.
Ramos has solidified the Spurs defence significantly (barring today’s calamities against Newcastle). He’s brought in talented defenders like Alan Hutton from Glasgow Rangers and Jonathan Woodgate from Middlesborough. This squad has been playing with more grit and solidarity than they could have imagined.
I could tell that their mental attitude has been kicked into shape by Ramos’ total regime makeover. No drinking and no unnecessary fatty foods were the two defining factors which sharpened the team’s mentality and performance on the pitch.
However, it’s not just the players who play football; some might think that the managers play their football through the squad. Ramos has played football through his squad and the rules he laid down for them.
The club has a chance to pull away from the likes of Newcastle and Middlesborough if they keep their style of play consistent. If they play any better than they did today, they could end up overtaking West Ham United and slipping into the top half, but I can’t forsee them getting higher than about 8th place this season.
Next season will be better. Ramos has had a chance to take everything in and work with what he’s got. Now he has foundations to build on. Spurs have already been talking about raiding the summer transfer list for Michael Owen (Newcastle), Stewart Downing (Middlesborough) and David Villa (Valencia).
I see Spurs winning most of their remaining games against the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Middlesborough if they try hard enough and work together. There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’.
Spurs have also had help from one of the best striking partnerships in the Premiership consisting of Rep. of Ireland international, Robbie Keane and ‘Iceman’ Dimitar Berbatov. They have scored tonnes of goals this season between them.
In conclusion, Ramos now has the tools to hopefully build the club up and deservedly put it in Champions' League territory for the first time ever.
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