Harry Redknapp has reacted angrily to Vedran Corluka’s criticism of his managerial style, calling the full-back’s claims that Spurs could finish as low as sixth because of a lack of squad rotation a ‘load of nonsense and an excuse’.
Corluka hit out at Redknapp earlier this week after seeing Spurs slump from title contenders at the start of the year to struggling for a top four spot and Champions League qualification.
The Croatian international, who was sent out on loan from Tottenham in January to Bayer Leverkusen, believes Tottenham’s recent slum, which has seen them pick up just one win from their last nine games, was because they continued to use the ‘same 11,12,13 players’ for every game.
Redknapp denied his squad were suffering the consequences of a lack or rest, and said he is unable to rest players because of a lack of cover in key positions.
“I like Charlie, he’s entitled to his opinion,” Redknapp told reporters. “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.”
Redknapp sent four players out on loan during the January transfer window, including Corluka, while bringing in two players, Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen.
Redknapp revealed he was left frustrated at Corluka’s injury problems that often caused him to miss games at White Hart Lane, before reiterating his belief that none of his players are in need of a rest.
“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.”