SPURS LIFTED BY BERBATOV ; REPEAT AFFAIR: Spurs Dimitar Berbatov Guides Home Spurs Winner against Portsmouth (Far Left) after Good Play by Paul Robinson, Saving David Nugents Effort (Centre). Defeat for Harry Redknapp Left Him Dejected (Top), While Juande Ramos Can See Improvement at Spurs (Above)
Byline: IAN RIDLEY
PORTSMOUTH0 TOTTENHAM1 DIMITAR BERBATOV can drive supporters and managers mad.Well balanced,withneat control and perceptive vision,he is everything the leader of an attackshould be with his leggy height and skilful feet.
At least, that is when he wants to be. On other occasions,the Bulgarian canappear to be labouring and lumbering, tetchy with team-mates.
He is always likely to do something special, though, which makes much of thefrustration with him worthwhile.
Yesterday he arrived on cue to poach the late goal that gave Tottenham theirfirst away win of the campaign.Following on from Sundays home win againstManchester City, it made it the first time this season they have won twoPremier League games in a row.
Spurs may not quite be marching on just yet but they do look to have at leaststirred themselves under Juande Ramos,suggesting a better second half of theseason.
Berbatovs goal was enough to end Portsmouths unbeaten run at 11 games and denythe south coast side the chanceto move into the top four ahead of the Big Four meetings today.
It represented something of a setback to what looked like a plan to accumulateenough points for safety ahead of Januarys African Cup of Nations, to whichthey lose a clutch of players.
Disappointingly for their fans,it was a fourthconsecutive goalless home game since that extraordinary 7-4 win over Reading.
Portsmouths has been a curious, remarkable season. Alone among the top-flightclubs, they have taken more points away from home,including four andthree-goalperformancesat Newcastle and Aston Villa. It suggests they are a counter-attacking team,happy to absorb pressure with rocks like David James and Sol Campbellunderpinning them.
As a reflection of their manager Harry Redknapp, it may also be that theyperform best as underdogs, when the burden of expectation does not weighheavily on them.
It did yesterday, as they struggled for the rhythm that has characterised themthus far this season.
Tottenham may have made a poor start to the season, leading to Ramos replacingMartin Jol as coach, but they remain a big club whom everybody still expects tofinish comfortably in the top half of the table.
The reality is less fearsome, though. Yesterday they were without a host offirst-choiceplayers, includingthe injured Ledley King and Gareth Bale, theunwell Michael Dawson and suspended top scorer Robbie Keane. …