Spurs' wobble is down to over-confidence, lack of quality and bad performances - NOT England

I just don't buy it.

Yes, we all know that the charade of shortlists and candidates is masking only one thing - that the FA want Harry Redknapp to succeed Fabio Capello.

And yes, the last two Premier League results for Spurs have been ones to forget.

But I just do not buy into the idea that the north Londoners' season is being derailed by all the uncertainty.

In Tottenham's first League game since Capello departed they crushed a very good Newcastle side 5-0 at home.

Yes they bit the dust against resurgent Arsenal - but that was only their third defeat in 23 matches stretching back to the end of August.

If anything, it was not uncertainty that cost Tottenham it was over confidence. The old cockerel was, er, sticking out a bit too much after goals from Louis Saha and Emmanuel Adebayor had put the club 2-0 up against their rivals with the fragile confidence.

Momentum is everything in football and once Bacary Sagna headed Arsenal back into that fateful match Spurs couldn't get back into first gear.

As they struggled to stub the cigars out and get the slippers off, Arsenal took advantage of their complacency to get another four goals.

Put simply, it was a bad performance. They happen. As for Manchester United on Sunday, that psychological barrier remains.

It's been 20-odd games, stretching back to 2001, since Spurs have come out on top against the champions. 11 years in which United's better players and cutting edge in front of goal has proven superior to teams from the white half of north London.

Sky's stats afterwards showed 18 attempts on goal for Tottenham from which they scored just one, compared to six on goal for United from which they scored three.

You get what you pay for and in Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young United have quality.

Yes, Tottenham were without Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale. But the United frustration was yet another reminder that Spurs need to splash the cash in the summer for some more quality in front of goal.

Yes, Adebayor's 11 in 25 Premier League games so far is decent. But Rooney has hit 18 over the same period, 25 in all competitions.

Yes Jermain Defoe has hit 13 in 28 this season in all competitions, but Redknapp prefers a big man up front and Defoe is very likely to leave Spurs this summer to find a club willing to give him a run-out every Saturday.

Rafael van der Vaart is a 70-minute man. And while Louis Saha may have hit the ground running with three in five appearances, but at 33 he is a stop-gap rather than the future.

Little wonder, then, that the club took a long look at the versatile, 25-year-old Marseilles forward Loic Remy and the 22-year-old marksman Leandro Damiao at Internacional.

It is quality that has derailed Tottenham's title bid. Not the speculation around England job.

The players have known for some time the FA would come knocking. Redknapp's name was being openly bandied about after the humiliating World Cup campaign Capello 'led' in South Africa - and that was two years ago.

The senior players within the Spurs squad such as William Gallas and Ledley King have been driving their younger team-mates to focus on the job in hand, not settle for fourth - or even third - place.

They have been the ones galvanising the team. They most certainly do not buy into the idea that they have been reduced to quivering wrecks because Redknapp could leave either now or at the end of the season.

Yes, it is perfectly reasonable to look at the authority of an England manager-in-waiting being baited by fans up and down the country.

In truth, however, the ironic 'Harry for England' taunts came from Manchester United fans - whose team dominate so often that they can take the bliss out of pretty much most managers in the country - and Arsenal fans who themselves were calling for the head of their own boss Arsene Wenger a week before their 5-2 win.

Its a fair bet there won't be too many teams able to have a pop given Tottenham's fixture list in the Premier League for the remainder of the season.

But even if there are, Redknapp put up with far worse in the months leading up to his court case, with fans openly chanting witty ditties about tax and goodness knows what else.

The form of resurgent Arsenal, who have hit ten goals in their last three games, is much more likely to create a wobble within the White Hart Lane dressing room.

Quite rightly, the Gunners fans are starting to get optimistic about reeling in their bitter rivals for an automatic Champions League qualification spot.

But the fragility of Arsenal's situation is summed up by the fact that if Robin van Persie gets injured they may as well pack up and go home.

Arsene Wenger won't play Theo Walcott as a striker, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain can't do it all at his age and there are not enough goals from midfield to get the frontmen out of trouble.

So it is still on for Spurs and their fans who should not get carried away by the England speculation around Harry Redknapp.

The players have been put in their place by two outstanding sides. But they still have an outstanding chance themselves of dining at European football's top table again.

***

Read Darren Lewis on Tottenham exclusively every Wednesday and follow @ MirrorDarren on Twitter.

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