Tottenham Hotspur 4 Wigan Athletic 0: Ramos rewarded as Spurs punish leaderless Wigan

Click to follow
The Independent Football

First things first. Juande Ramos should not be judged on four unbeaten league and cup matches. Whether domestically or in Europe, Tottenham's much-heralded new Spanish head coach has yet to face any genuinely threatening opposition since replacing Martin Jol.

But wins, exciting displays and clean sheets breed confidence, all of which Spurs have been lacking, and yesterday's thumping victory over managerless Wigan in Ramos' first home league game in the hot seat will do wonders for morale.

The game featured the club with worst home record in the Premier League versus the one with longest losing run, sitting side by side at the start of play, perilously close to the drop zone. It was clear from the kick-off that Wigan were there for the taking.

They packed the midfield to try and stop the supply line to Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov but it proved a thankless task. After 12 minutes, Keane nutmegged Andreas Granqvist and his pass along the line eluded Chris Kirkland and was turned in by Jermaine Jenas.

Ramos has got Spurs keeping their shape, closing down opponents and playing more in their own attacking third and after 25 minutes it was 2-0. Keane cleverly refrained from running into an offside position and, instead, Jenas burst forward to collect Berbatov's pass, and shot home. By half-time it was over as the dazzling Aaron Lennon hit a glorious half-volley into the far corner after Berbatov had shown great skill in controlling Paul Robinson's clearance.

The suited Ramos stood impassively, arms folded, in the technical area as he watched his team outplay the opposition in all areas of the pitch. All that was left was for substitute Darren Bent, gradually shrugging off the tag as £16m misfit, to score his second goal in successive league games, dragging his marker wide before driving the ball home.

But for two breathtaking saves from Kirkland, Spurs could have had even more while the clearest indication of how poor Wigan were was that it took them 85 minutes to test Paul Robinson, even after sending on substitute Antoine Sibierski to join the attack.

"Obviously we are happy with the scoreline but I'm particularly pleased that we've had three clean sheets since I've been here," said Ramos, still talking through an interpreter. "When you get more solidity, you have more confidence. Berbatov was excellent today and I hope he'll decide to stay with us."

As for Wigan, two points from a possible 30 tells its own story. Some 20 applications have apparently been received to succeed the sacked Chris Hutchings.

Frank Barlow, temporarily in charge, has ruled himself out but unless the chairman, Dave Whelan, appoints the right man and fast, Wigan will go down. "Spurs played really well but we should apologise to our fans for that first 45 minutes," said Barlow. "We are well aware that we're in the middle of a scrap and we have to stop this slide as soon as possible."

Goals: Jenas (13) 1-0; Jenas (26) 2-0; Lennon (34) 3-0; Bent (72) 4-0.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Robinson; Chimbonda, Kaboul, Dawson Lee; Malbranque (Tainio, 52), Zakora, Jenas, Lennon (Defoe, 79); Keane (Bent, 66), Berbatov. Substitutes not used: Cerny, Archibald-Henville.

Wigan Athletic (4-5-1): Kirkland; Kilbane, Bramble, Granqvist, Melchiot; Taylor, Skoko (Brown, 64), Cotterill (Sibierski, 39), Landzaat, Dcharner; Bent. Substitutes not used: Pollitt, Hall, Olembe.

Referee: H Webb (South Yorkshire).

Bookings: Wigan Skoko, Scharner.

Man of the match: Lennon.

Attendance: 35,504.

Comments