Spurs remain in Premier League chase
Tottenham’s fans pleaded with Harry Redknapp to snub England and stay at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening as the Spurs boss masterminded a brutal hammering of Newcastle.
Louis Saha scored his first two goals for the club and there were also strikes from Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Niko Kranjcar and Emmanuel Adebayor as Spurs moved within five points of the Barclays Premier League summit.
The performance was one of the team’s best of the season and came amid a background of constant adulation from the home crowd towards their manager.
The 64-year-old started the week with the prospect of jail hanging over him, but by Wednesday afternoon he found himself in the clear and in pole position to take over as England’s head coach following Fabio Capello’s shock resignation.
Chants of "you’re Spurs and you know you are" greeted Redknapp as he made an emotional return to the dugout and "we want you to stay" rang out on several occasions as the home support made it clear that they did not want to lose their boss, who has transformed the club from relegation candidates to title chasers within just over three years.
Redknapp acknowledged their chants with a warm smile and wave, but it remains to be seen whether their pleas will be enough to make their boss stay at White Hart Lane.
The reality is surely that he is extremely interested in taking Capello’s place and on today’s evidence, it is easy to see why he is the overwhelming favourite for the post.
If any of the four-man FA board tasked with appointing Capello’s successor was watching today, they will have been delighted with what they saw.
Despite being without key talisman Rafael van der Vaart, who was out with a calf injury, Redknapp’s men started in devastating fashion and were two up after five minutes.
With barely three minutes on the clock, Adebayor played a one-two with Kranjcar and he crossed for Assou-Ekotto, who rifled home from a tight angle to score after three minutes.
Two minutes later it was 2-0. Adebayor peeled off down the right, muscled his way past Fabricio Coloccini and crossed for Saha, who turned home from six yards.
Redknapp, usually a restrained figure on the bench, sprung to his feet and punched the air with glee.
Tottenham continued to pulverise the away side and added their third in the 20th minute.
Luka Modric jinked into the box and found Adebayor and he laid the ball off to Saha, who smashed home from 12 yards.
Demba Ba curled a free-kick just wide, but otherwise Newcastle barely threatened in the first half.
Spurs were playing some of their best football under Redknapp and the popular manager was on his feet again in the 34th minute as the home side scored again.
Tim Krul’s save from Adebayor’s close-range shot ricocheted in to the path of Kranjcar and he swept home from 15 yards for his first Spurs goal in a year.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew turned away in disgust at his team’s defending and they did little to suggest they were capable of offering anything at the other end.
Ba drove a low shot straight at Brad Friedel but Tottenham were soon on the attack again through Saha, who curled a shot just wide.
Adebayor, Assou-Ekotto and Kranjcar all missed chances in first-half injury-time.
Pardew ditched the ineffective Obertan at half-time and brought on Shane Ferguson in his place.
There was no let-up in the Spurs pressure, though, as the hosts looked for a fifth.
Bale played a delightful chip over the Magpies’ back four but Adebayor mistimed his run and the Togo striker wasted another chance moments later by screwing his shot wide.
Redknapp thanked the jubilant home crowd once more as they chanted his name.
Newcastle gained more possession, but they could only muster a weak attempt on goal from Jonas Gutierrez, and moments later Krul was once again picking the ball out of his net.
Saha nodded Assou-Ekotto’s cross towards Adebayor and he wrapped his right leg around his marker to poke home and make it 5-0.
With 24 minutes left Redknapp brought on Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon for Bale and Saha, who received a big hug from the Spurs manager.
Kyle Walker skinned his marker and whipped in a cross but Adebayor just missed the header that would have made it six.
Newcastle missed a great chance to score a consolation soon after but Gosling skied over from six yards after Friedel had done well to save Ba’s point-blank header.
At the final whistle, an emotional Redknapp gave his thanks to all four corners of the ground before disappearing down the tunnel, clearly delighted with his team’s performance.