Vedran Corluka, the Tottenham defender, has openly criticised the selection policy of Harry Redknapp and claimed that the club’s collapse in form is mostly down to the fatigue of key players.
“He didn’t rotate enough — that’s the main problem,” Corluka said. “I watched almost every Spurs game and they played them all with the same 11, 12, 13 players and that’s why the players now are really tired. I wouldn’t be surprised if they finished sixth.”
Ten Tottenham players have each made more than 30 appearances this season, with Kyle Walker, Benoît Assou-Ekotto, Gareth Bale, Younès Kaboul, Luka Modric, Jermain Defoe, Rafael van der Vaart, Brad Friedel Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor the main regulars.
Corluka was among those who was sparingly used during the first half of the season and, having started only one Premier League game, eventually moved on loan to Bayer Leverkusen in January.
With Tottenham now on a dreadful sequence of just one win in nine league games, Corluka fears they will miss out on a place in the Champions League.
“They are three points behind fourth spot,” he said. “They are fifth and it’s going to be really difficult for them.”
With Tottenham even regarded as contenders to win the Premier League when they moved within two points of Manchester United in January, Corluka said that the season would be a failure if they remained outside the top four.
“Yes, especially because three months before they were in the title race challenging City and United,” he said.
“Tottenham, for me, had one of the best teams in England and of course it will be an unsuccessful season if they don’t go to the Champions League.”
Corluka’s frank assessment of Tottenham’s season, however, is likely to irritate Redknapp. After the 2-1 defeat against QPR last Saturday, he rejected suggestions that key players had been overused.
“We’re putting it in players’ minds now that they can’t play twice a week because they’ll get too tired,” he said. “I think that’s an absolute load of nonsense. Lionel Messi doesn’t ever miss a game.”
Redknapp’s options have also been regularly limited by key injuries.
Michael Dawson and Niko Kranjcar will miss the rest of the campaign with their respective ankle and knee injuries, while hamstring problems have restricted Aaron Lennon.
Benoît Assou-Ekotto (shoulder) and Younes Kaboul (knee) could also both miss the club’s remaining four games. Emmanuel Adebayor, however, should return for Sunday’s home match against Blackburn.