Champions League a bonus – HR

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.”