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Jan 30, 2009

Berbatov to blame for Spurs woes, says Comolli

Former Tottenham Hotspur director of football Damien Comolli has launched a scathing attack on Dimitar Berbatov, blaming the Bulgarian for the club's nightmare season.

Comolli was sacked along with manager Juande Ramos in October with Spurs bottom of the Premier League and few fans lamented the Frenchman's exit not least because of his disappointing results in the transfer market, his chief responsibility at the club.

In his three years at White Hart Lane he oversaw £170m of spending on new players many of whom failed to settle or live up to what many regard as inflated fees.

Comolli also sanctioned the departure last summer of both Robbie Keane and Berbatov, players who contributed 15 goals each in the 2007-08 Premier League season, and despite a combined transfer fee of £50m fans were understandably incensed at their sale.

Berbatov quit for Manchester United on the final day of the transfer window after making his desire for a move clear.

Comolli claims the former Bayer Leverkusen player forced his way out, and insists the lack of time to find an adequate replacement was a major reason for the club's subsequent toil.

''I think the fact that Berbatov stayed so long, until the last day, made life for the coaching staff difficult,'' Comolli, now sporting director of St Etienne, told Sky Sports News.

''What can you do if a player tells you, 'I'll never play for you any more'? If a player has refused to play three games, like happened last summer, what can you do about it?''

He added: ''I'm not looking for excuses but when I joined Spurs I didn't realise how difficult it would be to break into the top four.''

Harry Redknapp was brought in from Portsmouth to replace Ramos at the helm as the position occupied previously by Comolli was scrapped.

The new boss has since been critical of the former regime's recruitment policy and claims the squad is unbalanced - although they have once again made it through to the Carling Cup final a year after winning the tournament under Ramos.

Comolli disagrees with that assessment of the squad, and claims Redknapp's repeated selection of midfielder Didier Zokora, a player he turned down during his time at Pompey, shows his judgement is not always perfect. However, Redknapp now appears to have signed Wilson Palacios as a direct replacement.

''Not many players in England outside the top four have got to two successive finals,'' he said. ''So I think, personally, the quality is there, that's what everyone is saying.

''It happens to everyone. Zokora went on trial at Portsmouth and he turned him down a few years ago, and now he's playing all the games for Spurs. It's a question of timing.''

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