Ramos' backroom faces reshuffle

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The Independent Online

The hierarchy at Tottenham Hotspur will attempt to steady the ship this week by shaking up Juande Ramos's coaching staff as well as jettisoning the beleaguered director of football, Damien Comolli. Bottom of the Premier League after Sunday's defeat to Stoke, the club are standing by Ramos although they have encouraged him to make changes in his backroom.

There is a view at Spurs that Ramos is taking on too much – he alone takes charge of all the training ground sessions himself with only his assistant Marcos Alvarez, nominally the fitness trainer, responsible for coaching the players. Gustavo Poyet, the Uruguayan who is often in the front line in terms of giving television interviews, is much more of a peripheral presence around the training ground and not responsible for coaching the players. He remains a translator who, with Ramos's English improving, is required to do less than when the Spaniard arrived.

Ramos has been encouraged to delegate more to take some of the pressure off him and give the players a new perspective. The Spanish coach is famously reticent about telling the players the team in the build-up to games, preferring the Fabio Capello method of letting them know on the morning of the match. He has proved a difficult man to predict with many of Spurs' players unsure whether they will be playing until the team is announced.

There have been concerns within the camp that Ramos has not been doing enough to prepare his side for the specific threats of the teams they have are playing against. He is not a coach who spends much time on set-pieces and it was also evident from the way that Spurs played on Sunday that they had not given a great deal of thought to the danger presented by Rory Delap's long throw-ins.

The end to Comolli's reign as director of football is expected to come soon with no plans to hire an immediate replacement imminent. Daniel Levy, the chairman, took over virtually all major contract negotiations last summer and sidelined Comolli.

Spurs play Udinese in the Uefa Cup at the Stadio Friuli on Thursday and then have Bolton at home on Sunday where fans groups intend to protest against the board. Jonathan Woodgate said that the players were behind the manager who has overseen Spurs' worst-ever start to a league season. "He is still the manager and hopefully he will continue to be," Woodgate said. "We will stick by him no matter what."

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