West Ham V Spurs

Post Match Comments
Audio Match ReportWednesday 31st January 2001
Upton Park
Referee: Neale Barry

Harry Redknapp expressed his frustration after West Ham failed to break down a resilient Spurs side at Upton Park on Wednesday night.

The Hammers fought out a tense and scrappy affair with their north London rivals and created several goalscoring chances, but still had nothing to show for their efforts at the final whistle.

Said H: "It was probably a fair result. We had some good spells and got right on top after half-time, but we needed a goal then.

"Tottenham worked hard as a team and made it very hard for us. They had chances aswell, so I am happy that we haven't conceded.

"I knew it would be a tough game tonight, London derbies always are. We've got no right to walk all over Tottenham, they set their stall out and played the same system as us.

"They made it very difficult for our midfield three to play, well, they would do with someone like Steffen Freund wouldn't they, and that was how they decided to play."

Harry also found time to offer more praise to his new recruits: "The new players have done well for us again," he said. "It was a great goal-line clearance by Hannu Tihinen, he did the same thing at Old Trafford on Sunday and he played very well again. Schemmel also did well, I've been very pleased with him.

"They've all done well, it just depends how much they cost, that's the bottom line with us. If they're cheap and cheerful, we'll get them, and if they're too dear they'll go elsewhere."

When quizzed on the talents of his side and where he felt they could conceivably finish up this season, H was understandably coy, saying: "I don't know really, it will be very tough. I don't even know where you've got to finish to qualify to be honest. Once again, it's the same old story. We finished fifth two years ago and didn't get in, so I don't know what will happen this year.

"People say I have got a squad that should qualify for Europe, but I've got two loan players from Norway and France, two 19-year-old kids in midfield who are still learning the game and a lot of injuries, so I can't see that we can be expected to finish in the top five.

"Who knows, I certainly haven't got a clue where we will end up. At the start of the season, when we were in the bottom three, people were talking about relegation and all that nonsense.

"We might go and win a few games on the trot and finish third or fourth, I don't know. I would like to just finish in the top half of the table again. If we did that, I would be the first manager in the history of West Ham to finish in the top half four years running. That would be a good achievement.

"But it's tough for us at the moment. We've had Charlton away, Man United away, Tottenham tonight and we play at Liverpool on Sunday, all tough games. I've got players injured, Fredi Kanoute is doubtful with a groin injury and there are a few players I need to get back to strengthen the side.

"Igor Stimac is still injured, Steve Lomas is three or four weeks away and we still don't know whether or not Trevor Sinclair will have to have an operation."

Finally, Harry refused to blame Sunday's superhuman effort for his team's failure to pick up three points against George Graham's side, but did offer a tongue-in-cheek excuse that had a familiar tone to it.

"I can't say we were tired after Sunday though, I wouldn't use that as an excuse. We had the chances to score goals and had some good spells, but it just didn't happen.

"I also thought the pitch was poor, it was bouncy and wet on top, which made it hard for us to play, but honestly, that isn't an excuse! Oh yeah, and I thought the referee didn't play enough added time!"

While the Hammers enjoyed the greater possession and creative product, Spurs looked a danger on the break and can consider themselves unfortunate not to have nicked a goal in the second half.

Indeed, they were presented with the best chance of the game on 58 minutes, when Anderton's lofted pass dropped at the feet of Leonhardsen just eight yards out.

The Norwegian midfielder lifted the ball over the onrushing Hislop towards the net, and almost began running away to celebrate his good fortune.

However, just as he had done to deny Teddy Sheringham at Old Trafford on Sunday, Finnish defender Hannu Tihinen raced back to miraculously divert the ball off the line and on to the roof of the net.

Tihinen was once again excellent, producing an almost faultless display of defending to keep out the hungry strikeforce of Sergei Rebrov and Andy Booth.

Booth, making his debut after signing on loan from Sheffield Wednesday yesterday, came close on a number of occasions, and had a goal ruled out early on when he was adjudged to have been offside when heading in Anderton's deep cross.

Fredi Kanoute endured similar flag misery moments later when he converted from Michael Carrick's deflected shot, but the Frenchman was involved in the majority of West Ham's best moves in the second half, causing Sol Campbell and Gary Doherty problems with his pace and strength.

Our young midfield trio also performed admirably again, but were stifled much of the time by the strong-arm tactics of Steffen Freund, who was lucky to escape unpunished for his persistent fouling of Joe Cole.

The Hammers could also lay claim to a valid penalty appeal midway through the second half, when Di Canio wriggled free on the right and swept the ball across the six yard box where Nigel Winterburn was steaming in at the far post.

However, Chris Perry's challenge from behind prevented the 36-year-old defender from making contact, yet didn't appear to touch the ball either.

A fruitless night at Upton Park then, but another clean sheet and yet more entertainment from the likes of Cole and Di Canio.

With a trip to Liverpool next on the fixture list, the Hammers can travel to Anfield full of confidence and knowing they have a more than decent chance of beating the Reds on their own patch for the first time since 1963.


2 - Early confusion in the Hammers defence sees the ball fall to Rebrov, who scuffs his shot straight into the arms of Hislop.

4 - Di Canio spots Lampard's run on the right and the midfielder's cross falls invitingly for Pearce, but the veteran defender completely mis-kicks his left-foot volley.

6 - Di Canio receives a return pass from Winterburn on the left, cuts inside and fires a well-struck shot just past the post.

10 - Anderton and Rebrov link on the right hand side and the Ukranian plays a tidy pass inside the area but Dailly clears the danger.

11 - Di Canio lays a short pass to Schemmel, whose cross is met acrobatically by Lampard, but the ball sails high and wide.

15 - Anderton's deep cross is headed into the net by Booth, but a slightly late offside flag denies the striker an early debut goal.

18 - Di Canio's free-kick is headed straight at Walker by Tihinen.

24 - Clemence feeds Freund, who advances over the halfway-line and fires a blistering shot just over the bar.

26 - With a taste for shooting, Freund attempts another speculative effort, but his looping shot from the touchline is again too high.

30 - Carrick's bobbling shot falls to Kanoute inside the area but, despite finishing cooly, the Frenchman is also adjudged offside.

33 - With a frightening burst of skill and speed, Kanoute beats two markers in one movement and races into the box before firing a shot that Walker saves well.

35 - Walker clears a back-pass straight to Kanoute, whose attempted lob from 40 yards is too weak.

36 - Cole wriggles into the box on the right hand side but his lobbed cross-shot is gathered easily by Walker.

38 - Cole combines with Di Canio and the Italian flicks a ball over the defence that Kanoute heads into the arms of Walker.

39 - Enjoying a spell of domination, the Hammers move forward in numbers, but Carrick's long-range shot is too high to trouble Walker.

40 - Against the run of play, Booth's flick-on releases Rebrov, whose left-foot shot trickles just past the post.

42 - Kanoute's ambitious volley flies well wide.

43 - Anderton picks up on a loose ball and unleashes a stinging low shot that Hislop can only parry out to the penalty spot, but the fautless Tihinen comes to the rescue, clearing under pressure from Rebrov.

45 - Di Canio provides the moment of the match so far when he amazingly turns Clemence on the halfway-line and releases Schemmel on the right. The Frenchman's cross is met by a bullet header from Lampard, but the ball crashes against the bar and out for a goal-kick.

ADDED TIME: 1 minute.

HALF-TIME: West Ham 0 Spurs 0.


49 - Cole lights up the start of the half with a Di Canio-esque turn on the halfway-line to beat two men at once, but fails to release Kanoute through on goal with his pass.

51 - Di Canio tricks King on the right before firing low across the box where Winterburn is waiting to tap in. However, a last-ditch - and seemingly foul - challenge denies the veteran wing-back.

53 - Kanoute beats Doherty on the right, but his cross is blocked for a corner. The resulting kick is cleared, but Pearce fires his second effort wide.

58 - Anderton's chipped pass finds Leonhardsen in the box and the Norwegian's dink over Hislop is heading in for a certain goal until Tihinen somehow clears the ball from under his own crossbar and on to the top of the net for a corner.

59 - Cole's searching cross appears to be heading for the boot of Di Canio but sails just out for a goal-kick.

61 - Rebrov floats a cross into the danger area which Booth heads just over the bar.

63 - Dailly's inch-perfect cross-field pass finds Di Canio and the Italian plays in Winterburn on the left, who blasts over under pressur from Perry.

67 - Anderton's left-foot shot on the half-volley flies wide of Hislop's right-hand post.

69 - Tihinen BOOKED for foul on Booth.

73 - Rebrov finds Freund wide on the right and the German lays the ball into the path of Anderton, who shot is superbly blocked by Dailly.

73 - Perry BOOKED for foul on Di Canio.

74 - From the resulting free-kick, Pearce's scorcher is brilliantly tipped round the post by Walker.

75 - Carrick's deflected shot bounces loose in the box, but Tihinen just can't stretch his leg far enough to beat Walker to the ball.

78 - Pearce's superb free-kick picks out Di Canio on the left, but the Italian's magic touch deserts him at the vital moment as he fires his shot into the side-netting.

81 - Kanoute's in-field pass finds Cole and the youngster turns twice before seeing his stinging shot fly just over the bar.

83 - Double substitution for Spurs. Young replaces Clemence and McEwen replaces Rebrov.

85 - Cole chips a ball into Kanoute in the area and runs on to the return but his effort is deflected into the arms of Walker.

88 - Young's cross from the left falls to Booth, whose shot is blocked by Tihinen. Dailly then clears in the ensuing scramble.

ADDED TIME: 2 minutes.

91 - From Anderton's corner, Booth heads into the arms of Hislop.

FULL-TIME: West Ham 0 Spurs 0