Glorious European Nights Haunt Tottenham

Chris PotterCorrespondent INovember 6, 2008

The glory days of Bill Nick's brilliantly simple, stylish and successful pass-and-go football, Hoddle's genius and Villa's magic are a distant and blurry memory in all but the older and more delusional portion of Tottenham supporters.

With their top-flight status in serious threat for the first time in more than a decade, Tottenham enter tonight's relatively low-key UEFA Cup clash against Dinamo Zagreb with more pressing domestic matters at the top of their agenda.

For, despite the impetus that veteran Harry Redknapp's arrival at the club has given Spurs' league campaign, they remain adrift of clubs with modest ambitions such as Hull, Bolton and Portsmouth.

The significance of tonight's match for many fans lies not in the result achieved but in the selection to the substitutes' bench of two young, talented footballers that may have suffered the same sad fate as the likes of Rohan Ricketts and Johnathon Blondel but for the recent shift in chairman Daniel Levy's  psyche.

Indeed, were it not for Ramos' decision not to register Ghaly, Rocha, Boateng, Taraabt and Stalteri for this season's UEFA Cup, we would have seen if Ramos needlessly undermined his own chances of success by casting out players with undeniable qualities and invaluable experience so readily.

It is all too easy to get drowned by the waves of optimism generated by 'Arry the Lad's refreshingly honest and simple approach to management but it is clear that many of the players feel liberated and have a renewed sense of purpose, which is evident from their performances on the pitch.

It could be argued that this is the difficult part of the job that Redknapp - who clearly has a knack for these things - has undertaken as his last great project. But, for those more discerning followers of this remarkable club, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Redknapp started with an unconvincing 2-0 win against Bolton and, while Tottenham's players showed plenty of spirit and will (and touches of class) in their comeback effort at the Emirates and smash-and-grab victory over Liverpool, they also lacked focus and concentration at crucial moments in both games.

Indeed, Hutton's assist in Arsenal's fourth goal seconds after Bent had got Tottenham back into the derby and Gomes' moment of madness against Liverpool which almost condemned Tottenham to a seventh defeat of the campaign were familiar cases of thoughtless self-destruction.

On the flip side, Tottenham have scored 10 goals in their last 350 mins of football (I type as they are 2-0 up against Zagreb), many of which have been a result of sublime skill and excellent teamwork.

It is this natural attacking instinct that comes naturally to Tottenham's current players and manager which will help them accumulate vital points in the run up to the January transfer window. Redknapp will, at this stage in the season, have 'limited' funds to strengthen the squad and will look to bring in cover for Ledley King, a midfield enforcer and competition for the erratic Heurelho Gomes.

Until then, with time on the training ground limited due to the hectic nature of the modern schedule, Redknapp will have to hope that Bent and Pavlyuchenko can hit it off, that Modric can find his touch and that Lady Luck favours his side.

Only time will tell...