Tottenham Must Bring Back Defoe and Change Their Tactics vs. Manchester United

Glenn HoddleFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27:  Jermain Defoe of Spurs looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Hull City at White Hart Lane on October 27, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Tottenham remain dear to my heart, but they seem to be in a state of crisis in the aftermath of an embarrassing 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City. Spurs face the other side from Manchester this Sunday, urgently needing a lift.

Nobody needs a good result more than their manager, Andre Villas-Boas. He needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat, and that means changing his style of play.

Spurs cannot go on being the team that cannot score goals. It's not in the club's DNA. The fans love attacking football—that is not to say leave the door open at the other end, but there is sufficient talent at the manager's disposal to make it possible.

Equally, there are also glaring weaknesses in their current make-up, which I pinpointed from the first day of the season.

First things first—Jermain Defoe needs to come to Spurs' rescue and play up front alongside goal-shy £26 million signing Roberto Soldado, who just isn’t getting the service. Soldado was making runs down the channels at first; now he is no longer bothering as he knows he won’t get the ball delivered early enough to warrant the effort.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:  (L-R) Roberto Soldado of Tottenham Hotspur and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa of Newcastle United challenge for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at White Hart Lane on Novem
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

I’ve been saying all season that we should be concerned by Spurs' lack of creativity in midfield, but their lack of goals is just as worrying. Villas-Boas is now under intense pressure following that 6-0 humiliation at Manchester City.

Now Spurs face Manchester United at the Lane, in a game that will be crucial to their season. They need to bounce back straight away, but they have a poor record against the current champions. That's why I am advocating an overhaul of the system and the personnel in Spurs' large, but so far ineffective, squad.

Spurs need to re-shape their attack. Look at the way Brendan Rodgers accommodated Daniel Sturridge when Luis Suarez returned. Everyone thought he would keep the same shape and play Sturridge wide to keep Suarez as the lone striker.

Instead, Rodgers was cute and changed his shape, to accommodate them both up front, using his best assets. He switched to three at the back, and I would do the same with the Spurs team, as they have fast full-backs in Danny Rose, when he’s fit, and Kyle Walker. They can pull that off.

Eric Lamela is lost out on the flank, so he would be best floating behind the front two. I am not sure that is what will happen, but they will at least go to 4-4-2 to have two up front.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30:  Erik Lamela of Tottenham comes under pressure from Stephen Quinn of Hull during the Capital One Cup Fourth Round match between Tottenham Hotspur and Hull City at White Hart Lane on October 30, 2013 in London, England.  (Phot
Clive Rose/Getty Images

That is one problem, but the biggest is they are missing a massive creative player. My concern has been all season that the team have lacked a player to unlock the door in midfield. I would ask the question: are Etienne Capoue, Paulinho, Lewis Holtby, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela really better options than Tom Huddlestone, who the club sold off for £6 million?

I am not sure that they are. Huddlestone moves the ball quicker and can see the bigger picture. The others tend to hold onto the ball too long and that makes it tough for Soldado up front on his own.

Right at the start of the season—even after Spurs won 1-0 at home to Swansea—I highlighted the fact they would struggle to create. Then Christian Eriksen was bought and he was going to be the one to do it, but he wasn’t used too much at first, and then he got injured.

It has been suggested that I was in the Spurs boardroom for that Swansea game, suggesting Spurs could win the title. The reverse was the case. I was indeed talking to Daniel Levy, but we were chatting about Gareth Bale and how Spurs could win the title if Bale was still in the side!

No way was I suggesting Spurs would win the title, that is completely wrong. So I don’t know where that has come from, or who could have been listening to my conversation, because that isn’t what happened or what was said that day.

AVB has spent £107 million rebuilding Spurs after the £86 million sale of Bale to Real Madrid, but spending money on players doesn’t it mean they are the right players, or that they will all gel together at the same time.


* is an exciting new website where Glenn Hoddle reveals how kids from all over the world can enter the X-Factor-style Zapstarz, the former England manager's search for a new generation of footballing talent. 


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