It has become common practice for Premiership teams to field reserves and youngsters in the FA Cup, a method which has led to many shock results over the years but doesn’t give a true indication of the underdogs chances against a big team. The FA Cup has taken a backseat to continental qualifications and the Champions League and interest in it has dwindled as a response. So in these dark times for the FA Cup it’s nice to see that there’s a manager out there who still sees the prize as just as important as their other goals as Harry Redknapp plots to win the FA Cup for the second time in just a few years.
Facing Championship strugglers Peterborough, Redknapp did not go with common conventions and start reserves but instead played a team many would consider full strength – with injuries ruling the only other first team members out of contention. Redknapp’s boys duly swept Peterborough aside 4 – 0 and Redknapp is keen to repeat the feat he achieved with Portsmouth in 2008 by lifting the famous trophy once more. He revealed
“We want to keep playing well and go all the way. We’re only in two competitions this season and so we will keep putting a top team out. People paid good money to come here so it’s important to put in a good performance.”
Redknapp’s interest in the cup is in stark contrast to his attitude earlier this season when confronted with a League Cup tie against Manchester United where the Spurs manager made a lot of changes to his team in an effort to keep his squad’s challenge for a Champions League spot. Redknapp had said at the time
“Wembley is a great day out but I would love to get into a Champions League position with Tottenham. Over the season you can win a cup and have a bit of luck along the way but to get to a Champion’s League position would be a real reflection of what we’ve done through a whole season. It would be great for us.”
“We have done it [squad rotation] in the earlier rounds of this year’s competition but, in the past, Tottenham haven’t done it so much.”
Whilst the League Cup is known to be disregarded by most teams Spurs are a team who have taken it seriously in recent years with a win and a runner’s up spot to their name in the last two seasons. Redknapp’s disdain for the trophy this season is made up for by his desire to win the FA Cup and being willing to stretch his team to fight their way through and also to keep the league push going. It’s a tough ask and could prove a perilous mistake but the prospect of both a Champion’s League spot for next season and an FA Cup win is an absolute dream for Spurs fans and one that seems achievable. It’s been nineteen years since Spurs’ last FA Cup win and, given Harry’s attitude and current squad, there’s no reason the boys from the Lane can’t go on to make this a memorable season for more than one reason.