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Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 18:13 GMT
The task facing Ramos at Spurs

By Sam Lyon

Juande Ramos
New Spurs boss Ramos won five trophies in three seasons at Sevilla
As Martin Jol's successor, Juande Ramos faces a massive task at Tottenham - to take the club into the top four of the Premier League and establish them as Champions League regulars.

That has long been the ambition of chairman Daniel Levy and the Spurs board, and is the reason why a dire start to this season under Jol was not tolerated.

But while Ramos's appointment may have been one of the worst kept secrets in English football, few in the UK know a great deal about the 53-year-old Spaniard.

What is his style? What is his approach? Can he work successfully with sporting director Damien Comolli? And what must he do to revive Tottenham's fortunes?

After the Spaniard's officially unveiling by the club on Tuesday, BBC Sport takes a look at the man hoping to take Spurs into the game's elite.


Ramos, a mid-level midfielder who was forced into retirement at the age of 28, has been far from an overnight sensation in management.

Tottenham will be his 11th club in 14 years and it is fair to say he has not enjoyed success at every one.

At Barcelona 'B' under Johan Cruyff he reportedly fell out with the players - though Cruyff himself is reputed to have liked Ramos's management style - while he was sacked after just three months at Espanyol after a falling out with the directors.


However, having taken Rayo Vallecano to promotion and an unprecedented Uefa Cup place the following season in 2001, it was at Sevilla that the Spaniard built what has quickly become a superb reputation.

In three seasons at the helm he led the club to five trophies - including successive Uefa Cups - and last season took Sevilla to the brink of La Liga title, eventually finishing third.

Former Liverpool striker Michael Robinson, who is now a presenter on Spanish television as well as a part-owner in lower league club Cadiz, says: "Simply put, Tottenham could not have appointed a better manager."


While Martin Jol will be remembered as affable, friendly and emotive, Juande Ramos has built a reputation in Spain of hiding behind a "granite mask".

Intelligent, hard-nosed and something of a taskmaster, Tottenham players can expect a very tough time living up to Ramos's expectations.

Spanish football journalist Graham Hunter told BBC Radio 5 Live: "He is very competent, prodigiously hard-working and very demanding."

And that could mean a swift wake-up call to the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, who was accused of not working hard enough towards the end of Jol's reign.

"Ramos will not suffer any lack of effort whatsoever," Robinson told BBC Sport. "He won't tolerate a lackadaisical approach for one second from any player - on or off the pitch.

"He is a terrific trainer, a terrific coach and he knows the way he wants his teams to play."

Another Spanish football journalist, Andy Mitten, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "There are similarities to (Arsenal manager) Arsene Wenger in that he's a student of the game. He turns moderate players into world-beaters."


Tottenham fans are notorious for demanding not just success, but success with flair.

Famously, double-winning captain Danny Blanchflower said: "The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It's nothing of the kind. The game is about glory."

Well, according to Robinson, Ramos's style is made for Tottenham.

Dimitar Berbatov
Berbatov must up his work rate to impress Ramos, says Robinson

"When Ramos took over Sevilla, they were not very popular - even among their own fans," he said. "They were similar to Italy or Argentina in that they were very strong, aggressive, but defensive.

"But now, under Ramos, Sevilla are a fantastic footballing side.

"In fact, over the last two years Sevilla have been the best footballing side in Spain by a long chalk.

"Ramos's philosophy is all about attack, good football and pace.

"Sevilla, for example, are full of attacking verve and pace, but without losing that strong defensive side. They are, quite simply, a delight to watch."

And, key to that approach, is the fitness of the players - indicated by Ramos's insistence that his conditioning coach at Sevilla, Marcos Alvarez, join him immediately at White Hart Lane.

"You almost sweat watching them," said Robinson. "I've never seen a football team with such physical attributes. Ramos has taken away the philosophy that 'fancy' or 'precious' players don't work. From the first second to the last every single player gives 110%."


One of the questions surrounding Jol's time at Spurs centred on his relationship with sporting director Damien Comolli.

Having been brought in under previous director of football Frank Arnesen, it has been speculated that Jol repeatedly clashed with Comolli, especially over prospective purchases, leading to reports he felt undermined by the Frenchman.

That should not be a problem for Ramos, though, says Robinson.

"Ramos worked with a great sporting director at Sevilla in Ramon Rodriguez Monchi, and has a president in Jose Maria Del Nido who is not the easiest man to get on with.

"But it has not affected or hindered Ramos at all," he said.

Ramos is really not the sort of person who will want to come and demand the full run of things

Michael Robinson

"As sporting director, Monchi went out and signed the players, and left Ramos to coach what he was given. I suspect it will be that way at Tottenham, too.

"And that won't be a problem. Ramos is really not the sort of person who will want to come and demand the full run of things - he has never worked that way before."

Working alongside new first-team coach Gus Poyet will also be helpful to Ramos, as the Spaniard continues to get to grips with the language.

Poyet, fluent in Spanish and English, is expected to act as a go-between when needed, though Hunter said: "Ramos is not fluent in English yet, but he has a working understanding and that will come in time."


There appears to be little debate among analysts as to what has cost Tottenham so badly this season - their defensive record.

Only Derby have conceded more in the league and, add to that the erratic form of star man Berbatov, the result has been a record of just one league win in 11 games.

Football expert Alan Hansen told BBC Sport: "Juande Ramos will have three tasks very high on his agenda when he gets on the training ground at Spurs - get the best out of Dimitar Berbatov, get a defensive midfielder and get a defence.

"The history of football tells you nothing is ever won with a poor defence. They have missed Ledley King as a defensive lynchpin and their goalkeeper Paul Robinson has undergone a crisis of confidence.

"Spurs can be blessed with all the forward power they like, but if they are leaking goals at the back their problems will persist - and Ramos is shrewd enough to know he will have to put this right as a matter of urgency."

Former club captain Gary Mabbutt added on BBC Radio 5 Live: "If you look at it from an attacking point of view, only Arsenal and Manchester United have scored more goals than Tottenham this season.

"But Arsenal have conceded seven, United have conceded four, and we've conceded 23. That clearly shows where Ramos will be concentrating in his first weeks of working with the team."


Tottenham fans should not expect an immediate turn-around, warns Hunter.

"He has been made out to be a superman but he is not," he said. "He inherited a good club at Sevilla, with an excellent defence, and was able to take them forward from there.

"While not taking anything away from his success, I don't like the way Ramos is being painted as some kind of five-star superman."

However, Robinson insists Ramos's "excellent work on the training pitch" can shore up the Spurs backline, adding: "Ramos is extremely astute tactically.

"He has an attacking philosophy but not at the expense of his defence. It is a winning philosophy."

Kevin-Prince Boateng
Boateng rarely featured under Jol but Ramos is thought to be a fan

What is clear is that the return of King will be crucial - at least until January when Ramos may choose to dip into the transfer market for an experienced centre-half.

However, less obvious is what Ramos will do about Spurs' misfiring midfield.

At Sevilla, Ramos built his midfield around two powerful, technical players in Christian Poulsen and Seydou Keita - and only the out-of-form Jermaine Jenas can claim to be of that ilk of Spurs' current frontline central midfielders.

So will that create problems for the less mobile or combative midfielders like Tom Huddlestone and Didier Zokora?

"I would say so," said Robinson. "I would say those members of the Tottenham squad that are not as fit or mobile as they should be will struggle under Ramos.

"Spurs under Ramos, once he has got hold of them, will be dynamic. The players will have to be non-stop - like action men who happen to be good at football.

"That's not to say Ramos will immediately come in and clear out a load of players.

"You only have to look at the example of Sevilla to see a whole host of players that are unrecognisable under Ramos to how they were before.

"Fredi Kanoute, Luis Fabiano, Jesus Navas to name just a few - he has transformed footballers that you wouldn't have thought had that side to them."

However, the likes of Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Berbatov could thrive, says Robinson.

And the former Liverpool star adds: "Before he signed for Spurs, if anybody had asked me to name one man who could turn any club in the world around, I would've suggested Ramos."


"One of the biggest things Ramos will introduce is that winning mentality," said Robinson.

"His teams have no complex whatsoever. Every game, no matter who or where they are playing, Ramos's teams go for the throat from the off and keep it going for 90 minutes.

For me, it's the best bit of news that any Tottenham fan could've had

Michael Robinson

"They are hungry, determined, aggressive and all of that with moments of pure brilliance."

So, how big can Tottenham be under Ramos?

"Given the support from the club - as good as they want to be," said Robinson.

"For me, it's the best bit of news that any Tottenham fan could've had. I don't think they could have signed a better manager."

Ramos starts work with Tottenham
29 Oct 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs pick Poyet to assist Ramos
29 Oct 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham make Ramos head coach
27 Oct 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Comment: Blame the board, not Jol
25 Oct 07 |  Sport Homepage
Goodbye Jol, hello Juande?
26 Oct 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Jol sacked as Tottenham manager
26 Oct 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Mourinho would do no better - Jol
28 Sep 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur


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