"We're fighting on two fronts and I would take either of them - if we do then what a fantastic season we've had. If we achieve none we've still moved forward a million percent. If we could win them both it would be incredible."
It's now looking likely that Spurs will win neither. Harry Redknapp's very slight exaggeration prior to the FA Cup semi-final about the team moving forward "a million percent" had more than a hint of pre-emptive damage control, as did his statement that "it's better than being stuck at the bottom in a relegation battle". While that is undoubtedly true and while there has undoubtedly been substantial progress under his stewardship, a 5th or 6th place finish will fall well short of the fans' expectations this season.
Roman Pavlyuchenko in action
The less said about the semi-final itself, the better. Portsmouth - already relegated and with key players missing - simply wanted it more. On this showing, a number of Spurs players need to take a long hard look at themselves. Peter Crouch has been criticized for missing a number of chances, but at least he worked to get himself into goalscoring positions. That's more than can be said for Defoe, who was taken off after an hour. If an FA Cup semi-final against a former club provides insufficient motivation for a committed performance, then it’s hard to know what could.
Michael Dawson's commitment is never open to question and it was a shame for him that his slip led to Portsmouth’s opener. Over the two semi-finals, the Wembley pitch has been the focus of much discussion but as Redknapp had the grace to recognize, "it's the same for both teams". It's also possible to point to what looked like a good goal being disallowed, the questionable penalty award and various incidences of bad luck. But all of that is clutching at straws. Spurs entered the semi-final as firm favourites and emerged as the losers.
The weekend was made worse by two other results in the Premier League. Burnley had looked like they were already down, but their 4-1 hammering of Hull has suddenly given them something to play for while pulling the likes of Bolton and Wigan back into the relegation mire. After the fixtures against the top three, Spurs will face both Burnley and Bolton. The only other remaining game is against fourth place rivals Man. City. City have now scored 14 goals in their last three games, not only taking hold of the Champions League spot in the process, but also overtaking Spurs in terms of goal difference.
Yet despite all the doom and gloom, Spurs now have the ideal game in which to bounce back and show some heart. A win against Arsenal would go a long way towards lifting the mood at White Hart Lane.