Harry Redknapp vs the Europa League

September 15 was the kick-off for the group stage of the Europa League. The Europa League isn’t the most popular competition for some in the Premier League. Harry Redknapp isn’t thrilled to be in the Europa League. I think it’s very fair to say he doesn’t like it since he thinks it will interfere with his quest to achieve Champions League football next season. I am going to have to disagree with Harry on this one. I think the Europa League is a fine and competitive tournament and shouldn’t be brushed aside because it’s not the Champions League. I believe Tottenham should put every effort into the matches and win the trophy. I think you can do both. It’s not like there isn’t money in the Europa League. Work towards the Champions League and still make a solid effort to win the Europa League.

I like Harry as a manager. I am not remotely interested in his personal life or legal problems. I am only interested in his ability to coach the team. I like his style of play his accessibility with the press. I am glad he was hired as the manager in 2008. He was what the club needed and he saved them from regulation. He has been a successful manager with a few small bumps along the way. We can’t always get what we want. I am fine with that. But I feel and sense I am not getting a full commitment from Harry in the Europa League. The same was true with the League Cup and I think the same will perhaps be true with the FA Cup. I love the idea of playing in Europe at any level and I would think the team would feel the same way.

I understand the injury problems at the club. I understand the scheduling issues. I understand the desire to get back into the Champions League since that is where the fame and more importantly the money is located. For the moment we are dealing with the now and not what can or will be, unless you can forecast the future. The focus should be placed on the game in front of you. Dwelling on the future takes your attention from what is going on at the moment. Not to say you shouldn’t make plans for the future but I believe in doing your best and working with your best to get the job done in the present is more important. Players are employees are paid to do a job. If the club felt they had injury concerns they could and should have addressed that during the transfer window. I thought the defense warranted more attention but nothing was done except a failed attempt to get Gary Cahill. Perhaps an argument could be made that Jenas and Bentley should have not been loaned out or Hutton sold. I do support the use of young players and some of them are really looking good. Wonderful news since they are the future. I think relying on them too much without the assistance of good veteran support could be a mistake.

I watched the recent Spurs and PAOK match. I thought players did a fairly good job in holding their own. They were playing away from home and at a very hostile stadium with solid fan support. I thought Harry Kane and Tom Carroll had a good performance. Yago Falgue got his Spurs debut. Carlo Cudicini made some fantastic saves and got lucky with the penalty. Spurs lost out on a penalty. Maybe it’s me or the fact he doesn’t play much but I have never been impressed with Giovani dos Santos. I have seen him play well for Mexico but not for Spurs. Maybe the two aren’t a good match. Spurs had a few chances to take the lead but I think PAOK put a lot of pressure on the young side. The Greek side controlled most of the second half. To be honest I think Spur were lucky to get the draw. At the end of the group stage I believe Spurs will advance. Rubin Kazan gave a strong performance against Shamrock Rovers. I view Spurs and Kazan as the strongest of the four. With that in mind Harry will have to adjust to meet those demands and he will be forced to field a stronger side with more veteran players.

I know the counter argument. Tottenham should focus solely on the league to ensure a stronger chance of securing the top four. Minimize the risk of injury by ignoring cup and Europa matches. In principle I think that isn’t a bad idea and I certainly want Spurs in the top four at the end of the season. On other side of the agreement I would like to see the club win more silverware. In the last ten plus years just two League Cups, I would like more. The main focus of the argument most fans put forth is base on the “what if.” The only way to find out if that strategy works will be the end of the season and nothing else. Players get injured all the time. Michael Dawson will miss two months from an injury he acquired during practice. To be truthful a player can get injured at any given moment of the day. My philosophy is play in the moment because that is all that matters because what will or what can happen in three or four months isn’t here, it’s irrelative. Why worry about something that isn’t even here. Thinking too much or over analyzing can be a bad thing. Athletics perform better when they aren’t thinking so much.

I want Spurs in the Champions League but we are in the Europa League. Since we are in the Europa League we should make every effort to win the trophy and face the winner of the Champions League in the Super Cup. I have heard Tottenham supporters who want us to fail in the Europa League, League Cup and even the FA Cup. I don’t agree with that. It’s based solely on the idea if the focus is on the Premier League we will make the top four. That might happen and it might not. Play the hand you are dealt and not the one you would prefer. I always taught no matter what the job or assignment you always do your best. I tell my students history may not be your major but you should always put every effort to do your best. Like my father used to say, “never half ass a job.” It’s a reflection on who you are as person and a testament to your character.

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