Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

But Spurs Rediscover Their Zest as Modric and Adebayor Turn on Style

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

But Spurs Rediscover Their Zest as Modric and Adebayor Turn on Style

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse



DURING the week that followed Tottenham's FA Cup semi-final thrashing by Chelsea, players and coaching staff gathered in a room at the training ground to try to work out where their season was going wrong.

Those present at the meeting at Spurs Lodge that day were permitted to express their thoughts freely, hoping it would enable all concerned to put poor results and performances behind them and concentrate on securing Champions League football.

How, they wondered, could a title challenge turn into a scramble for a Europa League place in three months? How could a team praised for their thrilling football fail to gain tangible reward from the campaign? "We said that we had to stick together, especially in difficult times," said Rafael van der Vaart. "It was important to fight and then the wins would come."

Although the improvement was not immediate -- Tottenham were beaten 1-0 at Queens Park Rangers on April 21 -- there are signs that Harry Redknapp's team are recovering their early-season zest. Should Spurs win their remaining matches and finish third or fourth, they may look back at that mid-April chat as a turning point.

There were signs of revival in the 2-0 win over Blackburn four days ago and at Bolton last night, since some of Tottenham's attacking play was as speedy and as smooth as it has been all season. The home team's need to push forward in the second half allowed Spurs to use the counter-attacking pace of Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Kyle Walker and Emmanuel Adebayor but even before Luka Modric opened the scoring with a ferocious 30-yard volley, Spurs's passing was crisp and their movement lively.

It must help to know that Redknapp's immediate future is now clear. The manager and the squad can concentrate on the last two matches, at Aston Villa on Sunday and at home to Fulham on May 13, without distraction. In securing their first away win in the League in 2012, Tottenham certainly played with more freedom than they have recently and in Modric, they have a man to inspire them during the final 11 days of the campaign.

The Croatian's future is uncertain -- he has yet to sign the [pounds sterling]100,000-a-week deal offered after Spurs refused Chelsea's approaches last summer -- but he is a leader of this team. …

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