This season Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has made contradicting comments regarding what his team can achieve this year. Earlier on in the season he said that the title race is open and that his Spurs side can challenge, now into the business side of the season he’s said that finishing in the top four of the Premier League would be a ‘miracle’. Surely such comments effect the morale of his squad who are all mostly new to Champions League football and competing at the top of the Premier League?
Firstly I want to say that I am a fan of Harry Redknapp, no I don’t support Spurs or support any of the clubs he has managed in the past, but I believe he is one of the best English managers in the game today, if not the best, and would love him to take over the England job in the future. When speaking to a few Spurs supporting friends of mine, they speak less favourably of Redknapp than myself despite being the first manager to take them into the Champions League and bringing the likes of Rafael van der Vaart to the Lane. Although they can appreciate the relative success, they see him as a bit of a ‘media darling’ and question his tactical nous (except the latter point seems to have gone quiet with them since their victory at the San Siro.)
Although Redknapp is one of the more honest and outspoken managers in the game, he is of course starting to play the “mind games” that the top level managers like Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are famous for. But since the defeat away to Blackpool last Tuesday, maybe he regrets his pre-game comments that it would be another miracle for his side to qualify for the Champions League again. Whether or not it was a ploy to take the pressure off his players, it did not work, so should Harry Redknapp just get on with the job in hand rather than playing politics with the media?
Of course the Spurs boss wants to take the pressure off his players and heap the pressure on the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea. “It would be a miracle if we did qualified,” Redknapp 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’s wage bill. Have a look at the money they pay out. Why should we finish above them?”
Well, despite the loss at Blackpool, Spurs still sit 4th place and even though a Chelsea victory over Manchester United tonight would see them go a point above their London rivals – Tottenham still have a great chance of getting back their Champions League spot. With their next three league games against the current bottom 3 teams, they will be looking to gain maximum points; meanwhile Chelsea have to play Manchester City during this time.
Forget wage bills and transfer fees, Tottenham have shown they are good enough by qualifying for the Champions League last season and making an impressive debut in the European competition this season. For Spurs’ sake, hopefully Harry is reminding his squad about all of these positives in the dressing room regardless of what he says to the media, otherwise finishing 5th will be a big probability.
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