Ramos rues Keane and Berbatov exits

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The Independent Online

Former Tottenham manager Juande Ramos admits the departures of Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov were major factors in Spurs' troubled start to the season.

The Spaniard was relieved of his duties at White Hart Lane late on Saturday night with the team rock bottom of the Barclays Premier League, having claimed just two points from their opening eight games.

The north London club also suffered a losing start to their Uefa Cup group campaign after slumping to 2-0 defeat at Udinese last Thursday.

Spurs splashed out big money this summer to bring in the likes of David Bentley, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Luka Modric and Giovani Dos Santos, but they also lost the services of Keane and Berbatov.

And Ramos feels the loss of the club's two senior forwards - to Liverpool and Manchester United respectively - dealt a blow from which the side never recovered.

"In the summer we experienced a difficult pre-season due to the changes in the squad, which prevented us from working with the tranquility that the summer preparation needs," he said in an open letter on his personal website.

"Furthermore the young age of some of the signings, despite their quality, means they needed some time to adapt and mature, which because of the urgency of the competitions they have not yet been awarded.

"Also the departures of Robbie Keane and Berbatov, important players in the team for their technical and human qualities and their scoring abilities, was too hard a blow for the squad.

"All this triggered a situation which I hope will be turned around as soon as possible because the club and fans deserved it.

"Therefore, now that I say goodbye, I want to express my enormous gratitude to the Spurs fans.

"Their excellent welcome, their respect, their kindness and even their constructive criticism. They have made me happy for many months and I'm only sorry I haven't been able to offer them more great evenings like that (Carling Cup win) of February at Wembley."

The decision to sack Ramos came almost exactly 12 months to the day after he joined the club from Sevilla, whom he led to two successive Uefa Cup triumphs.

Last season he led Spurs away from the relegation zone into lower mid-table and guided them to the Carling Cup, but while be believes those achievements should be ranked as "tremendously successful", Ramos acknowledges the team's form this season always left him open to dismissal.

He said: "After almost 20 years in the game I know the unwritten rules of football and that's why I accept the decision taken by the leaders of Tottenham Hotspur.

"We arrived with the highest hopes to a team in the relegation zone in a situation similar to that which is found at these moments, and we had a good start which saw us get to the middle of the table.

"Furthermore, we were able to qualify for Europe when it seemed almost impossible. We achieved it with a great effort on the part of all the team despite the enormous difficulties that we had.

"We also achieved the difficult challenge of lifting a title, which after nine years without tasting success was an enormous joy for all the club and the fans.

"For this we can catalogue last season as tremendously successful."

Ramos went on to thank Spurs fans for their support and the club for allowing him to fulfil his dream of coaching in England.

"You have always been with the team and I thank you for your unyielding encouragement," he said.

"I also want to send my heartfelt wishes to all the people at the club. To all the family that makes up Tottenham Hotspur, to this group of workers without whom nothing would work.

"To you, who have treated me excellently both professionally and personally, I thank you very much with all my heart.

"And lastly I want to thank Tottenham and the directors for the opportunity they have given me to live this dream.

"To coach in the birthplace of football, to feel and live the emotions of the Premier League. Thank you."

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