Friday 17 November 2017

Redknapp plays down Spurs' great expectations

John Ley

Tottenham can go third in the Premier League tonight but manager Harry Redknapp says it will be a "miracle" if his team qualify for the Champions League for a second year in succession.

A victory at Blackpool would take Spurs to within seven points of leaders Manchester United but, importantly, a point clear of Manchester City and five ahead of Chelsea.

But despite their recent problems, Redknapp insists Carlo Ancelotti's side remain a threat in the league. "It would be a miracle if we did it," he said. "I think people get carried away thinking Tottenham should be in the Champions League. Why should we be in the Champions League?

"We'd never been in the Champions League before, suddenly we do it and it's: 'Oh well, we should do it again.' Look at Man City and Chelsea. Have a look at their wage bills. Why should we finish above them?

"If you asked me at the start of the year to put my life on who I'd go for (to qualify) -- I think City with Tevez, Balotelli. Have a look at the strength they've got. Man United are nailed on, so are Arsenal. If we make the top four it will be a fantastic achievement for the players but it will be tough."

Redknapp is without Rafael van der Vaart tonight after the forward damaged a calf in training. But it is in defence that Spurs are short with Gareth Bale, Alan Hutton, Vedrun Coruka, Jonathan Woodgate, Ledley King and Younes Kaboul all missing.

William Gallas is likely to have to play at right-back as Spurs look for a fourth straight Premier League win for the first time in 11 months.

For that reason, Redknapp remains cautious, adding: "Finishing above Chelsea this season would never have entered my mind. After 10 games we were all going to give the championship to Chelsea. They were walking away with it so it's amazing how it's turned.

"I still expect Chelsea to go on a run. They can still finish second anyway. They've got the players there, the strength. It'll be tight.

"The top four is going to be difficult. But we're right there at the moment. Even with the European campaign and the injuries we've had, we're still in both competitions. It's great."

Spurs face AC Milan in a fortnight 1-0 up and 90 minutes from reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Redknapp said: "I see the Champions League as an amazing bonus and people forget that. If we can do it two years running it will be great." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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