Parker pulls the strings for scintillating Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Queens Park Rangers 1

White Hart Lane

It is telling that in a Tottenham Hotspur team of schemers and passers, of fleet-footed wingers and tricky midfielders, and even with Spurs playing some of the best football in the Premier League, it remains impossible to ignore the contribution of Scott Parker.

He does not do much that is spectacular but everything that is good about Tottenham starts with the English midfielder who tackles, distributes and controls the game for the benefit of his team. For periods yesterday this Tottenham side were playing so well that you had to wonder, Manchester City apart, whether there is another team in the division on quite such a level, especially going forward.

Two of the goals came from Gareth Bale, who looked back in the kind of form that made him one of the most awe-inspiring wingers in world football last season. But he is not the only one in the zone. Luka Modric is playing as if he is over his Chelsea infatuation. Rafael van der Vaart, who scored the second goal yesterday, looks sharp. Tottenham are up to fifth place and have a game in hand over Chelsea who lie third.

It was those three who played such a key role in propelling Spurs to the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season, but it is Parker whose industry has taken them up a notch again this season. Harry Redknapp is fond of telling the story of how he persuaded Daniel Levy to sign the player from West Ham in the summer despite the Spurs chairman's fears that the £8m fee was "dead money" and yesterday he was no different.

Redknapp said: "I told the chairman 'There's only one player I want at this club'. People don't understand. It's not always about a £35m superstar. Sometimes it is about good characters, having good people in your club as well as them being a fantastic player. He's a proper, proper old school footballer who loves playing.

"He gets on with it. He wants to win, wants to play, he is a good person, lovely family, comes in every day and works hard, trains hard, good in the dressing room. That's what you need if you are going to be a successful team. He gives you all those qualities."

Levy must be sick by now of hearing about how Redknapp had to battle against the odds when it came to signing Parker. "I said to him: 'OK, there ain't a sell-on [value] but what he [Parker] gives you on the pitch in three years is worth its weight in gold," Redknapp said. "And that's has been proved. It's what he gives you on the pitch."

Point taken. There will not be many days when Spurs play as well as they did in the first half yesterday. Touch, vision, team-work – it was all there. Just a little more certainty from them in front of Paddy Kenny's goal and it would have been embarrassing for Neil Warnock. Having lost their previous away game 6-0 to Fulham, Warnock will have feared the worst. Redknapp said at half-time that he heard a lot of noise emanating from the away dressing room – "it was all kicking off" – and little wonder. Queens Park Rangers had taken a battering in the first half and drastic action was required.

Even in the first two minutes, Kenny kept his team in contention with a double save, the first from Van der Vaart. Then QPR lost Fitz Hall to injury and Warnock was forced to put on Danny Gabbidon, who has been out for five weeks. "In the first half I thought we brought it on ourselves," Warnock said. "We gave the ball away in silly areas but we were playing against a top side."

From two goals down at half-time, and having made all their substitutions by the time the second half kicked off, Warnock's side did manage to rescue some dignity from the game. "I thought we were fabulous second half," he said. "At half-time it would have been easy to look at the game and think: 'How many are Spurs going to score here?'." Redknapp's team should have been ahead when finally they did score on 20 minutes in a move that went across the pitch from right to left like a smartly executed try. Van der Vaart picked out Lennon in the middle and he allowed Bale to make his run before feeding the ball left to the winger. He drilled the ball past Kenny.

Bale might have had another when Adebayor bustled down the right side and crossed to the back post where Benoit Assou-Ekotto hooked the ball back. Bale could not swivel in time to keep the ball low enough to stay on target.

Spurs' second goal was painfully simple. Gabbidon's half-hearted clearance found Ledley King who was encouraged to shoot immediately by the home crowd. The deflected effort was heading weakly astray when Van der Vaart intercepted it himself just inside the area, turned sharply and clipped it precisely past Kenny.

The changes Warnock made at half-time altered the game quite considerably for a 20-minute spell. Shaun Derry, whom the game was rather passing by, came off. So too did Adel Taarabt who, the QPR manager later said, was still in the dressing room at full-time. With the traffic on Tottenham High Road, he would not have got far on a bus anyway.

It was Jay Bothroyd, one of Warnock's two half-time substitutes, who scored QPR's goal on 62 minutes, and the away side were good value for it. They did not allow Tottenham the run of the park as they had in the first half and they put some decent pressure on at set-pieces which is where the goal came from. Heidar Helguson nodded Joey Barton's corner back across goal and Bothroyd headed it in from close range.

There was more urgency and more pressure, but just not enough of the vision and technique in the positions that mattered for QPR. Back came Spurs. With 18 minutes left Van der Vaart fed the ball into Bale on the edge of the box and twice he exchanged passes with Lennon. When it came back the second time he swept the ball into the top corner with his instep.

Good teams conjure those moments which just knock the stuffing out of opponents and this was one of these moments. Adebayor, who was excellent in everything apart from his finishing, had another chance which he scuffed wide of Kenny's goal. Parker came off to a standing ovation with three minutes left, looking shattered. Redknapp almost carried him to his seat.

Premier marksmen

10 Robin Van Persie (Arsenal)

9 Sergio Aguero (Man City)

9 Edin Dzeko (Man City)

9 Wayne Rooney (Man United)

6 Rafael van der Vaart (Spurs)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little