Saturday 17 August 2019

Redknapp insists United have greater cause for concern

Jose Mourinho and Jamie Redknapp
Jose Mourinho and Jamie Redknapp
Aidan O'Hara

Aidan O'Hara

There was a time when being knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages while suffering just one defeat in 14 Premier League games would still have been cause for celebration at Tottenham but it's indicative of their new-found ambition that they are deemed to be struggling a little.

Tomorrow at Old Trafford, they have the chance to put nine points between themselves and Manchester United, and former player Jamie Redknapp believes that a consistent run of games for their best players can form the springboard for their season.

"Pochettino has hardly had his favourite team on the pitch all season with (Mousa) Dembele's suspension and the likes of (Harry)Kane and (Toby) Alderweireld injured, but when he gets them back and Dele Alli playing well, I think they can come back strongly."

In contrast, Redknapp feels, United are still searching for their best starting 11, with the impressive form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan making it all the more puzzling as to why it took Jose Mourinho so long to make the Armenian part of his plans.

"He was one of the best player in Europe last year but couldn't get a game for United," said Redknapp.

"When everybody is fit, I can more or less name the Tottenham team. It's the same with Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal. But United I think are still searching for that, which might not necessarily be the manager's fault, but he's also the one who brought many of them in, so he knew what he wanted.

"I'm not sure what the best system is for getting the best out of those players. Ibrahimovic is a huge talent but I think he slows the game down for them and he's obviously not the long-term answer for them.

"It's like they're throwing the names up in the air and seeing what lands on the floor."

Pochettino has lost both games at Old Trafford in his two years with Spurs but, if things didn't work out for Mourinho, Redknapp believes that the 44-year-old Argentinian would be high on the United wish-list.

"I'm not sure what the average timespan is now for a manager. . . someone like Klopp he might get some time but they're the exception.

"The likes of Ferguson and Wenger were at their clubs for years but I think those days are gone. Managers are going to have cycles of three or four years if they're lucky and for someone like Pochettino I'm not sure if Tottenham will fulfil his ambitions. The club does, the fans do but I'm just not sure if the owners will.

"Everyone would want him if he was available. If Mourinho were to not last there at United, I think Pochettino would be the one that they'd go for. I think he's that good."

There have been some question marks as to whether Tottenham may need to reduce their intensity levels in order to compete both domestically and in Europe, but Redknapp doesn't believe Pochettino or Tottenham need to change their approach.

"If you look at the game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Tottenham dominated for 44 minutes and if they'd got to half-time I think they'd have won the game but Pedro scored, Chelsea had the momentum and went on to win the game."

A similar performance with a different result would leave a chasm between United and the top five and Tottenham may not get a better chance to get their title ambitions back on track, even with Thursday night European football to come in the new year.

"United under Alex Ferguson were the last team to be involved late in both competitions and it's becoming nearly impossible to do both unless you have a massive squad," added Redknapp. " I'm not saying Man City, in time, can't but at the moment it's really hard. Tottenham might not win the league but top four is definitely achievable."

Defeat for United tomorrow, however, and it would be difficult to say the same.

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