Redknapp left to scratch his head after Rossi's hat-trick
Tottenham Hotspur 1 Villarreal 4
Friday 30 July 2010
It may have been their first pre-season warm-up back on home soil, designed to give as many players as possible a run-out. But Harry Redknapp must have been relieved last night that it was only a friendly rather than Tottenham's Champions League debut.
After watching a makeshift Spurs side dispatched by Spanish opponents who were classy but hardly world-beaters, Redknapp will be looking for considerably more sharpness and cohesion as he considers how to meet the new Premier League requirement of 25-man squads.
Not too much should be read into last night's error-strewn display since no fewer than eight first-teamers were missing, either rested or nursing long-term injuries or short-term knocks. But as an exercise in building momentum following their recent US tour, there were few signs of encouragement ahead of a campaign that starts against Manchester City on 14 August before that eagerly awaited Champions League qualifier a few days later.
Jermain Defoe was back after his post-World Cup break, along with England colleagues Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson. It would not be fair to single them out but none rose above the mediocrity. Villarreal, who finished seventh in La Liga, may not be among the most illustrious names in Spain but have just won themselves a place in the Europa League at the expense of Mallorca, banned by Uefa due to financial irregularities pending an appeal.
With their European-style 4-1-4-1 formation, they provided a stern test and struck with venom on the counterattack as all good Continental sides do. By half-time, the former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi had given them a two-goal cushion with his still-sweet left foot.
Having already lost Jermaine Jenas through injury, Redknapp made a string of further changes, notably including Giovani Dos Santos. The Mexican, farmed out on loan last season but such a threat for his country at the World Cup, had a point to prove and reduced the deficit on 56 minutes just after Nico Kranjcar's rifling effort was disallowed for offside.
Rossi responded by duly completing his hat-trick and Marco Ruben added a fourth but Redknapp, for whom worrying injuries are already stacking up, refused to chastise his players, instead attacking the schedule. "Villarreal were excellent, far better than us," he said.
"But I didn't want this game, it was far too quick. It's not an excuse but we've just come back from a gruelling trip and everyone is waking up at 3am. The schedule is just crazy. It's pre-season and the last thing we need right now are games. We should be on the training pitch working." Instead, Spurs play Benfica in Lisbon on Tuesday.
Tottenham Hotpsur (4-4-2): Gomes (Button, h-t); Hutton (Walker, h-t), Dawson (Bassong, h-t), Corluka, Naughton (Assou-Ekotto, h-t); Kranjcar (Taarabt, 80), Huddlestone (Parrett, 78), Jenas (Rose, 18), Lennon (Bale, h-t); Keane (Crouch, h-t), Defoe (Giovani, h-t).
Villarreal (4-1-4-1): D Lopez (Oliva); A Lopez (Gaspar), Catala (Castellani, 86), Musacchio (Valero), Oriol; Senna (Ruben); Cani (Montero), Fuster (Kiko), Soriano (Insa, 78), Cazorla (Cristobal); Rossi (Perez, 78).
Latest in Sport
Moments of truth: Matches against Liverpool, Olympiakos and Manchester City will go a long way to defining David Moyes' long-term future at Manchester United
And finally... Arsenal can call on Kim Kallstrom
France 20 Ireland 22 match report: Ireland hold on to give Brian O'Driscoll perfect end to glittering career
Michael Schumacher ski accident: Sebastian Vettel pays tribute to F1 legend with special helmet for Australian Grand Prix
Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 0: Red-carded Jose Mourinho slams referee after defeat
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
- 3 Pakistani gang rape victim Amina Bibi dies after setting herself on fire
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Jet ‘hijacking’ began soon after take-off
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia