Football: West Ham United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0 - Hammers look dressed to kill

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The Independent Online
IF SARTORIAL elegance, or not as the case maybe, is anything to go on, then Harry Redknapp and George Graham are managing the wrong teams.

For the post-match deliberations Redknapp, on a hot and humid afternoon, sported T-shirt and shorts. His team, fortunately, showed more style than a Paris fashion show. Graham, as ever, showed up in an immaculate suit and tie. Spurs, unfortunately, looked for long periods as if they were playing in a straight-jacket.

Unlike Redknapp, who regaled the journalistic throng for some considerable time, Graham did not linger at the scene of the postmortem. He probably could not wait to return to the dressing room to administer a dressing down to his lacklustre side. In particular David Ginola (taken off after only 45 minutes) and Darren Anderton - currently vying for top dollar at White Hart Lane - did not provide value for money.

Although Redknapp denied it, West Ham, who entertain Metz tomorrow night in the Intertoto Cup final round seeking a Uefa Cup place, looked to have benefited mightily from their European games. Always first to the ball, West Ham made Spurs look slovenly.

The loss of the defender Ian Pearce with a nasty ligament injury in the first half forced Redknapp to cut his defensive cloth of 3-5-2 to 4-4- 2 and withdraw Trevor Sinclair from the attack into midfield. "We had to shuffle and we lost our shape and it took something away from us," said Redknapp.

The worry for him must be that his side's attacking creativity will be undermined by the club's lack of defensive cover, not just for Tuesday night's game but for the season.

"I've lost Ian Pearce and Stuart Pearce can't play in the Intertoto Cup. I haven't got four defenders on my books," said Redknapp. "There's only Steve Potts, Rio Ferdinand and Scott Minto who can play at that level."

With Neil Ruddock some weeks away from full fitness; with Gary Charles's transfer on hold due to Benfica's valuation of the player; and with Javier Margas still awaiting a work permit, the West Ham manager will have to rely on the Academy's traditional modus operandi of scoring more goals than they concede.

That shouldn't be too much of a problem. Paulo Wanchope, particularly in the first half, looked extremely threatening thanks to the quality of service provided by Paolo di Canio and Sinclair from the flanks. Redknapp will have been pleased that Wanchope, who despite his beanpole appearance never scored that many goals for Derby with his head, looked most threatening in the air.

The West Ham manager will also be hoping that Frank Lampard, who scored the winner in first-half time injury time, continues to pop up with goals from midfield.

Goal: Lampard (45) 1-0.

West Ham United (3-5-2): Hislop; Potts, S Pearce, Ferdinand; Minto, Sinclair,

Lampard, Foe, I Pearce (Keller, 37), Di Canio (Cole 88), Wanchope. Substitutes not used: Carrick, Kitson, Forrest (gk).

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Carr, Freund, Campbell (Scales, 27), Perry; Anderton, Sherwood, Iversen, Edinbugh; Ginola (Leonhardsen, h-t), Dominguez (Ferdinand, h-t). Substitutes not used: Taricco, Baardsen (gk).

Referee: P Durkin (Portland) replaced by D Ellerary (Harrow-on-the-Hill). Bookings: West Ham: Foe, Di Canio. Tottenham: Campbell, Freund, Sherwood.

Man of the match: Di Canio.

Attendance: 26,010.