Spurs boss hits back at criticism over lack of rotation
15:48 27 April 2012
Harry Redknapp has hit back at criticism from Vedran Corluka, branding squad rotation and fatigue “a load of nonsense and an excuse”.
Corluka, who is on loan from Tottenham at Bayer Leverkusen, said this week that Spurs are currently paying the price for tired players, because their manager has continued to use “the same 11, 12 or 13 players”.
And, although Redknapp has refused to criticise his player for his comments, the Lilywhites boss believes the Croatian defender’s analysis is wide of the mark.
“I like Charlie, he’s entitled to his opinion,” said Redknapp. “Rotating? I don’t know. I didn’t play any of them in the Europa League, and most of them didn’t play in the FA Cup until the later rounds.
“On average they’ve probably played about 30 games this year, which I don’t think is a lot.
“I don’t ever remember Bobby Moore getting rotated, or Geoff Hurst or Martin Peters. They played in ankle-deep mud every week.
“I don’t think 30 games a season is too many games for a player to play - and it’s my decision anyway.
“It’s okay to rotate a team if you’ve got enough players to rotate, and when you’re very strong in all positions. But I don’t feel I’ve been in a position where I’ve felt it’s right to rest people.
“Gareth Bale has had to play, he’s a fantastic player. He and Luka Modric might have played 32 or 33 games this year, but I think Frank Lampard played 60 games in a season once [62 in 2009/10]. I didn’t see him talking about being rotated.
“I think Ashley Cole’s played 47 or 48 games this year, and Wayne Rooney’s played way into the 40s. They’re not being rotated. Patrice Evra has played 48 games this year. It’s a load of nonsense and it’s an excuse.”
In fact, Bale and Modric have both played 43 games for club and country this season – the same as Rooney.
Meanwhile, Redknapp says that Corluka would been a more active member of the Spurs squad during the first half of the season if he had been fit.
“Unfortunately Charlie spent about four months on the treatment table, I couldn’t get him fit,” said Redknapp. “I couldn’t get him out to train or play, so in the end we decided he wanted to move and we let him go to play on loan.
“I love him, he’s a smashing lad, he wasn’t a minute’s problem to me when he was here – except in the end when he couldn’t get in the team because Kyle Walker was so good, and it was difficult.
“I can’t rotate Kyle Walker, I haven’t got another right-back on my books – and that’s the situation I’ve ended up in.
“I just think it’s an excuse. You know what happens, when you lose a few games everyone’s got something to say. You don’t hear anybody saying anything when you’re winning.
“No-one’s come to me and said ‘give me a rest. I’ve played 30 games this season gaffer, I’m tired. You’re only paying me £50,000 a week, can I have a rest?’ No-one’s said that to me. They want to play all the time.
“I don’t remember the great players getting rested. It’s all become part of sports science now and God knows what. It’s frightening.
“It’s all got out of proportion. If people keep telling these players that they’re tired, they’ll believe it. The pitches that they play and train on now are just incredible, you’ve never seen surfaces like it. It’s a load of nonsense, it really is.”
However, Redknapp believes that Chelsea have benefitted from being able to rotate their squad to maintain their challenge in the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League.
“I think Chelsea are in a situation where they can rotate,” said the Spurs manager. “They had the Champions League [second leg] against Barcelona coming up last week, so the manager made eight changes at Arsenal.
“He brought a guy in up front called Fernando Torres who they paid £50million for from Liverpool. He’s quite a good player.
“They brought him in and they brought about seven other top players in, and made some changes. They could do that – that’s the strength of their squad.
“We had a strong squad and then we lost a few – we lost Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and people like that who were important to the squad. But Chelsea have still got a strong squad.
“My squad looked stronger again this morning. We had one or two back from injury. I was delighted to have one or two back so we look stronger again.
“It’s all systems go from now on. We’re positive, we’re looking forward to the last four games. We’re in a great situation where we can still make the Champions League and we’re ready to go for it.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs