Tottenham Hotspur. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
PERHAPS the true measure of Manchester City's plight was not so much the result, nor even the fact that Tottenham ultimately played them off the pitch with fluent, passing football, but in the assertion of their manager, Brian Horton, that they 'did all right'.
Have the standards and aspirations of this club slipped so low that they can genuinely gain a semblance of comfort from this performance?
It is by no means Horton's fault that City's playing resources are too inadequate to make an impression on the Premiership, and injuries have further reduced his options. But Spurs, too, have been deprived of influential players in recent weeks and a run of nine League matches without a win before Saturday's visit to Maine Road is overwhelming proof of their problems. But then, in their camp, they demand rather more.
At half-time Osvaldo Ardiles gave his charges 'one or two flying teas', such was his dissatisfaction with their 'sloppy' efforts. Whether it was the beverage or the words, the message was hot enough to produce the desired effect.
Spurs absorbed a brief spell of pressure from City early in the second half before taking over with creative, assured play, gradually elevating themselves to a different plane. Once Darren Anderton had provided Jason Dozzell with the opportunity to put Spurs ahead, in the 64th minute, their sixth consecutive victory against City, and their fourth in succession on this ground, was barely in doubt.
Spurs might have inflicted damage to City's defence considerably earlier had Anderton been deployed in a more advanced role. Until that opening goal, Dozzell looked ill at ease and Sol Campbell will never be one of the game's great centre-forwards.
In Anderton they have a player capable of running at and past the best defenders in the country, yet he spent too much time jostling for room in an already cluttered midfield.
Campbell's limitations were exposed by his inability to take advantage of two breaks on goal, though he did at least contribute the flicked back-header which set up Dozzell's second goal, two minutes from the end.
Goals: Dozzell (64) 0-1; Dozzell (88) 0-2.
Manchester City (4-4-2): Coton; Kerr, Vonk, Curle, Phelan; White, Flitcroft, Quigley (Ingebrigtsen, 68), Lomas; Sheron (D Brightwell, 78), Griffiths. Substitute not used: Dibble (gk).
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Thorstvedt; Kerslake, Calderwood, Sedgley, Edinburgh; Anderton, Samways, Hazard, Caskey; Dozzell, Campbell. Substitutes not used: Austin, Hendry, Walker (gk).
Referee: G Poll (Berkhamstead).Reuse content