West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola has identified Croatian International playmaker Luka Modric as the key player in the Tottenham Hotspur side that beat the Hammers 2-0 at Upton Park on Monday night.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp stated that he intended to build the Tottenham side around 23-year-old Modric, when he arrived at White Hart Lane from Portsmouth to take charge at the Premier League club. With Redknapp choosing to deploy the £16.5million summer signing in a role behind a lone striker, which worked to good effect as Spurs enjoyed a good run upon Redknapp’s arrival.
Tottenham have struggled slightly of late, with it no surprise that this blip coincided with Modric being out injured for Spurs recently. However, the former Dinamo Zagreb player returned to the starting line-up for Tottenham last night, with Zola believing that the Croatian schemer was a major factor in Spurs collecting all three points in the Premiership clash.
Second half goals from Tottenham captain Ledley King and Jamie O’Hara, who came on as a second half substitute secured the win, but Zola believes that had West Ham gone ahead the outcome might have been different.
Zola said: “They started to play in the second half.
“Modric found his position behind the striker and that caused us problems.
“It was important for us to score first. We knew there were going to be chances in the game and if we'd have got in front it would have been a big help.
“Unfortunately for us it was a disappointing game.
“It's not an easy situation for us to be in, we all know that and we have to work hard to change it. We won't panic and we'll keep going.”