Any lingering impression that Harry Redknapp was upset at Tottenham's imminent Europa League exit was killed off yesterday, as the Spurs manager said his rivals would probably be "disappointed" by it.
Redknapp, who described it as a "punishment," offered a wide-ranging critique of the competition, including the number of matches, scheduling on Thursday nights and the inclusion of Champions League drop-downs.
Tottenham are not certainly out of the competition; they need a strong goal difference swing in their favour next week. Redknapp, though, did not sound desperate to go through, especially when he revealed his suspicion that Spurs' rivals would be hoping for them to progress.
"If I was at one of the other clubs I'd have been disappointed," Redknapp said of Spurs' likely exit. "I'd have wanted Tottenham to stay in because -- as cruel as it is -- you pick up injuries. You do want your opposition playing in Europe for sure, if you can get them into the Europa League, even better."
Redknapp also condemned the practice of third-place Champions League group finishers entering the Europa League last 32.
Luka Modric, rarely risked in Europe, is central to Spurs' plans and will not be sold in January, Redknapp said. ""We're not going to rip that team to pieces halfway through the season," he said.
"He's definitely not going anywhere in January, there's no chance."
Spurs are at Stoke tomorrow, when Ledley King is unlikely to be fit, although Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe ought to be ready.
Stoke v Spurs,
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