Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp last night tore into his players and branded them "naive" claiming that he has been left a "badly-balanced, badly put-together" squad by predecessor Juande Ramos and former director of football Damien Comolli.
Redknapp's words came despite a 4-1 victory over Burnley in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg that puts Spurs within touching distance of a second successive final. Redknapp said that he told his players, who were one goal behind at half-time after a dreadful first-half performance, that they were playing for their futures in the team.
Redknapp said: "People will accept players making mistakes and losing the ball but they won't accept you giving up and not chasing back. People come to see effort and hard work as well as skill and if we don't put any effort in then we are in trouble. I told them at half-time that I would find out a lot about them in the second half and to be fair we responded fantastically. That's the first time I've really gone into one but it did the trick. We are very naive, very naive. There are some young players who do things, sometimes a little bit of experience and know-how is missing."
Redknapp admitted that he was doing David Bentley, substituted at half-time, "no favours" by playing him on the left side but said he had no option if he wanted to play Aaron Lennon as well. "We haven't really got a squad," Redknapp said. "There are boys on the bench like Ricardo Rocha, Adel Taarabt and Kevin-Prince Boateng who didn't even have squad numbers when I arrived. We have no cover at left-back. It was a badly-balanced, badly put-together squad."
New signing Jermain Defoe said: "It's great to be back. I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's hard to put it into words, it's brilliant. I've been looking forward to it all day. A number of things [made me return]. Obviously everyone knows the manager was a major factor. My family still live in London and the fans were a factor too. You can tell by the reception I got. I never wanted to leave Spurs, but as a professional there comes a time when you think you need to move on. I did in order to improve my England career. But I didn't want to go in the first place."
Redknapp said there would be no excuses for Spurs not making it through the second leg on 21 January. "You shouldn't get beat by three goals," he said. "If we do that we really are in trouble."
Defoe's debut days
1999 Charlton to West Ham £1.4m
2000-01 Bournemouth (loan)
2004 West Ham to Spurs £7m
2008 Spurs to Portsmouth £7.5m
2009 Portsmouth to Spurs £15m
Defoe has scored on all club debuts:
19 Sep 2000 Walsall 0 West Ham 1 Scored late winner in League Cup tie.
28 Oct 2000 Stoke 2 Bournemouth 1 Grabbed 45th-minute consolation.
7 Feb 2004 Spurs 4 Portsmouth 3 Opened scoring in seven-goal thriller.
2 Feb 2008 Portsmouth 1 Chelsea 1 Notched 66th-minute equaliser.Reuse content