Redknapp: Champions League a bonus

Harry Redknapp thinks Tottenham’s fans should view qualification to next year’s Champions League as a bonus rather than a necessity.

Spurs fans may have enjoyed a remarkable debut season in the Champions League, but their place among Europe’s elite in next year’s competition is far from assured.

Tottenham trail fourth-placed Manchester City by two points after Wednesday night’s thrilling north London derby.

Clashes with AC Milan, Inter Milan and Real Madrid will be remembered for a long time by the White Hart Lane faithful, who would love the club to qualify for a second year running.

Redknapp realises that expectations have increased wildly since he dragged them off the foot of the table three years ago and believes dining at Europe’s top table once again would be a remarkable achievement.

"Getting in that top four is a bonus," Redknapp said.

"Every year the same four teams got into the Champions League apart from the one year that Everton broke in and then we broke in ahead of Liverpool.

"Now, suddenly, there’s Man City and they want to be in there every year too. Getting in the top four is going to be harder and harder every season."

Redknapp knows a tough run-in, which includes games against Chelsea, City and Liverpool, means that his team are underdogs.

He is nevertheless determined to bring the continent’s best teams to White Hart Lane next term.

"We’re in a position where we still have a chance," he said.

"It’s going to be tight but we have to keep going. We have the tougher run-in than Man City but it’s a good end to the season, it’s something we’re looking forward to, we’re fighting to achieve something, that’s all you can ask."

The 64-year-old also thinks the wealth of expensively-accumulated talent available to Roberto Mancini means that City’s FA Cup final clash with Stoke on May 14 will not prove to be a distraction to their rivals.

"I don’t think City will be affected by the cup, they have such a strong squad and they can rotate. They have a lot of options so it’s going to be close," Redknapp said.

Redknapp lavished praise on West Ham’s Scott Parker after he beat Gareth Bale to the Football Writers’ Association’s Player of the Year award.

The former Hammers boss lodged a bid to sign the midfielder last summer and he believes his former club will struggle to keep hold of their star man if they are relegated.

"It’s fantastic news for Scott, it couldn’t happen to a nicer lad," Redknapp said.

"What he has done this year in a struggling team is great. I’m delighted for him.

"I’ve always liked him. You couldn’t dislike him as a guy and a player.

"Hopefully West Ham will stay up and he’ll stay. If they don’t stay up they’ve got a problem keeping the Footballer of the Year haven’t they?"

Spurs will move ahead of City into fourth if they beat West Brom at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

They may have to do without star man Bale, who suffered a knee injury against Arsenal.

"He is quite a big doubt. I don’t want to say he’s definitely out but at the moment you wouldn’t think he would be fit," Redknapp said.

Redknapp will take on Roy Hodgson for the first time since the former Fulham manager left Liverpool after an ill-fated five month spell in charge.

Hodgson was considered to be on a par with Redknapp in the running for the England job until his time at Anfield, but the Tottenham manager insists his opposite number is still one of the best in the game.

Redknapp added: "He hasn’t got anything to prove. You don’t stay in the game as long as he has and manage at the top without knowing what you’re doing so it’s good to see him doing well."