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Spurs v West Brom: Analysis - Danny Murphy on the Pulis factor

Posted on 13 January 2017  - 13:15

Now a respected pundit on Match of the Day, Five Live and talkSPORT, Danny Murphy played over 700 matches for the likes of Liverpool, Spurs and Fulham and the midfielder can see similarities between his Fulham team under Roy Hodgson - a side that reached the Europa League Final in 2010 - and the West Brom team we'll meet at the Lane on Saturday...

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Danny Murphy

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- Over 700 league appearances for Crewe, Liverpool, Charlton, Spurs, Fulham and Blackburn - 1993-2013
- 29 appearances for Spurs - 2005-06, 2006-07
- Treble of FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup for Liverpool - 2000-01
- Nine caps for England

On West Brom and Tony Pulis

Danny: "When I was at Fulham and Roy Hodgson was in charge, we became a really solid team, very hard to beat, workmanlike with a bit of quality - similar to West Brom - and when I look at West Brom now, they do a similar thing to what we did. They obviously work a lot on their shape and where they are supposed to be when they are defending. The brief overview from my perspective is that they get back in numbers, they keep the distances between each other really close, they all put a shift in, they don’t carry anyone and they are all prepared to do it."

Below: Christian Eriksen battles with former Spur Nacer Chadli in October

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Staying narrow

Danny: "West Brom stay really narrow when they defend and they don’t get exposed very often. You don’t see them flying out of position and the reason for that is that they work hard on it. You can see that. I know people say Tony Pulis likes four centre-halves (across the back four) and all that but don’t get me wrong, they’ve played really well recently, they’ve played some good stuff. The full-backs get forward and join in but they are so narrow, close together, organised and well-disciplined."

Below: Ben Foster denies Dele Alli at The Hawthorns in October

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'It doesn't happen on a flip chart'

Danny: "I can tell you this, it’s not easy to do what West Brom do. People say ‘anyone could do that’ but to set up that way and continually get good results against good teams by being organised, hard to beat with good communication, discipline and work ethic, that’s not easy to do. That doesn’t happen on a flip chart, it happens with hours on the training pitch. That’s why Pulis always gets results and always has teams that can compete. The only negative with that was the same we had at Fulham where you are tagged as a touch boring, not very expansive, but what are you supposed to do when you are on a budget that can't match the teams you are playing against? You have to find a way to get results."

Below: Dele celebrates his equaliser at West Brom

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From a Spurs point of view...

Danny: "Spurs have to trust their quality, being patient with the build up, mixing it up, not always coming to feet, you need runners and the quality Spurs have will open up any team over a period of 90 minutes. You have to be clinical as well but the thing is, you will always have games where things don’t quite work out for you and you can sometimes have a team where it gets into your head that you haven’t beaten them for a while. But with the array of talent Spurs have and the confidence at the club at the moment, they should go into that game not even thinking about that, they should just go out, play and go into it on the front foot."

Below: Danny in action for Spurs

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And finally...

Danny: "One thing you have to do, and this is where Spurs have no problem whatsoever, is match West Brom’s work ethic and running ability. They will all put a shift in and Tottenham will do the same. That’s why the performances against Manchester City and Chelsea were so good, because Spurs maintained those levels over the 90 minutes."