Harry Redknapp fielded a weakened Tottenham team in the Europa League Group Stage match against PAOK Salonika on Thursday September 15th, citing the fixture against Liverpool less than 72 hours later as the reason. Spurs went on to annihilate Liverpool 4-0, justifying the team selection in Greece for most observers.
A similar approach was given to the League Cup earlier this week, where Redknapp fielded another weakened side to face Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. On one side of the argument is that those two performances resulted in reasonably credible 0-0 draws away from home.
However, the flip side is that those performances resulted in Tottenham falling two points behind Rubin Kazan in their Europa League group and being eliminated, albeit on penalties, from the League Cup at the first hurdle.
So while the victory over Liverpool justified a weak team gaining a solid point in Europe, what will it take to justify early elimination from a cup competition in which Tottenham have enjoyed recent success? At the very least, three points at the DW Stadium. But it must not end there.
Harry Redknapp cannot use Tottenham’s push for a Champions League place as an excuse for under-performance in cup competitions unless that push towards the top four is a sustained one.
It won’t be easy, as another recent article highlights, but three points at Wigan following a disappointing cup result would be a start.
However, the greater principle of pursuing Champions League riches over and above chasing tangible silverware must come into question if that pursuit does not end in success.