Chelsea’s recent achievement of hammering Tottenham Hotspur to reach the FA Cup final, was a remarkable one. Here was a team that just weeks earlier had looked haunted and broken, a once great sporting machine with wheels falling off it all over the place.

No one liked the manager, no one was playing well, there was an air of misery about Stamford Bridge. There was not even any joking or banter on the bench during games, where the doomed Andre Vilas-Boas cut an increasingly isolated figure, hunched by the touchline in silence.

Since the departure of Vilas-Boas that has all changed. The Blues are now in an FA Cup final and head to Barcelona with a useful lead in the Champions League semi-final. Roberto Di Matteo has restored harmony in the camp. He seems to have done this,Ai?? arguably much like Guus Hiddink did, by just doing what the senior Chelsea players want him to do.

Getting the most out of his players

.

That is another matter though. One quality that those senior players do seem to possess, even Didider Drogba with his peach-coloured boots and never-ending diving, is a grasping ruthlessness that sees them to victory more often than not.

They exploit good fortune without a second glance, just witness the way they celebrated the decisive goal that never was against Spurs in the semi-final. They are cynical and unpleasant, as when John Terry repeatedly squeezed Carles Puyol’s injured hand in the Champions League clash with Barca.

They are gnarly, nasty and difficult to play against. The very qualities that seem to make the squad hard to manage are also what drive it to victory.

This is a lesson that Harry Redknapp and Tottenham Hotspur are yet to learn. Tottenham have affable ‘Arry in charge, everybody’s mate, a man who has spoken out in the past about how tactics are overrated, he just likes to let good players play. Has he actually won anything with that attitude?

Spurs have honest and hard-working Scott Parker, modest Luka Modric and his silky skills, Aaron Lennon’s dazzling pace, the genius of Gareth Bale and the flamboyance of Rafael van der Vaart. All great players, but count their medals and then compare that tally to Terry and the rest.

Football is about winning matches, whether we, as fans, like that fact or not. The romantics want to see a team like Tottenham do well, win things to reassure that the game is still beautiful. Not many of us like to be reminded that in fact what brings success is combining skill with the ruthless, cruel, aggressive and manipulative traits which on occasion bring the game into disrepute.

This is a hard lesson that Spurs, and Manchester City too, are learning.

Roberto Mancini and Manchester City are in a similar position to Tottenham. A gloriously famous football name in England now has to learn that throwing the money around on the most skilful players does not necessarily bring rewards. Managers, like players, need to learn how to build teams into winning organisations, and Mancini does not seem to quite have the touch yet.

Ferguson(c)www.dmffootballworld.blogspot.com

Ferguson knows how to win!

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Sir Alex Ferguson does, and look at the players around whom he is building what looks set to be a title-winning team this season. Look at who he brought out of retirement to help drive the team on as well: Paul Scholes.

Scholes is a player with an enviable medal collection. He is clearly not as fit, as quick or as good at getting into the penalty box as he once was, but the former England star knows how to pick a pass, where to stand and, crucially, just what it takes to win football matches and medals.

This is what Redknapp and Tottenham have to face up to. Pick all the pretty players you want, all the Welsh wizards and Croat creatives, but unless they are born-winners it will not matter. Knowing how to win is in a player’s heart and in their head, and some players have it and some do not.

It can also desert those who often have the most need of it, if it is not honed and sharpened by continued victory. Look at Kenny Dalglish. A great winner as a player and a new manager at Liverpool and then a well-financed Blackburn Rovers. A flop ever since.

Arsenal have never been the same since personalities like Patrick Vieira deserted the club. Finding replacements still eludes the Arsenal management.

Whether Redknapp, Mancini or anyone else at Tottenham or City likes it or not, what is needed to win things is not just cash, quality and hard work, but players with stone cold hearts and the steely eyes of winners. Until both Spurs and City find a way of cloning a Giggs, Scholes, Terry or even Drogba, they will remain second best.

Entertaining and always competitive, but never winning anything. Just ask Arsene Wenger what that feels like.

—–

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2 Responses to “Tottenham Hotspur Are Still Chasing Chelsea’s Secret”

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  1. Sir Cecil says:

    All Spurs need to know is how to score more than one goal in a semi-final while conceding less than five. All the rest is a lot of waffle. They’ve had DECADES to win something of more substance than a Carling Cup and have failed miserably. In the entire history of the Premiership they have won the same number of Premiership titles as Crystal Palace, Doncaster or Brentford. Zero. No more, no less.
    Don’t waste our time with articles comparing clubs like Chelsea with Tottenham Hotspur. Compare Spurs to teams with a similar number of Premiership titles to their own, like Dagenham and Redbridge.