Redknapp demands Defoe goals
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has told Jermain Defoe to start scoring goals and stop complaining about his lack of first-team football.
Defoe was a regular starter for the club last season, scoring 24 goals in the process, but he has only scored nine in 20 starts this term.
The England man has suffered from injuries and a drastic loss of form that saw him go without a Premier League goal until March’s 3-3 draw at Wolves.
The 28-year-old admitted this week in a televised interview that he had become "frustrated" at his lack of first-team action, leading to suggestions that he could leave White Hart Lane this summer.
Redknapp said on Friday that he wants Defoe to remain at Spurs, but delivered a stinging rebuke to the striker’s suggestion that he has not been playing the number of matches that he deserves.
"He hasn’t played well enough to play regularly, that’s the top and bottom of it. There is no other reason," Redknapp said.
"No-one has more faith in him than I do. He is a fantastic player but his form this year has not been anywhere near it has been in the past.
"He has to let the football do the talking really on the pitch. If he does it on the pitch then I will pick him."
Redknapp also took umbrage with Defoe’s claims that playing in the Europa League would be a "distraction" if Spurs finish above Liverpool to qualify for Europe’s second club competition.
"He can have Thursdays off then," Redknapp joked.
"Maybe he is busy on Thursdays so we will have to organise ourselves around that one."
Spurs have been linked with a number of strikers recently and they also launched audacious bids to sign Sergio Aguero and Giuseppe Rossi in January.
Roman Pavlyuchenko, Peter Crouch and Defoe have all been poor in comparison to Rafael van der Vaart, who has notched 15 goals since his £8million move from Real Madrid.
Redknapp admits Spurs have relied far too much on the Dutchman, but is convinced that Defoe can rediscover the kind of form that persuaded him to part with £15million to sign him two years ago.
Redknapp said: "Rafa (Van der Vaart) is our leading goalscorer and he’s a link player, a second striker, he’s not an out and out finisher.
"He has still managed to be way ahead of the rest in terms of scoring goals but Defoe will come back next year."
Sebastien Bassong is another player who has voiced his displeasure at his failure to hold down a first-team place this year.
The defender, who is behind Michael Dawson, William Gallas and fit-again Ledley King in the pecking order, said he wanted to leave Spurs on Friday and Redknapp admits he would let the Cameroonian go.
"Seb has been unlucky for us this year," Redknapp said.
"I brought William Gallas in and he and Michael have done well this year. It has been difficult for him. He might be a lad who needs to move to play regularly. He could play anywhere. He is a top player."
Spurs will seal Europa League qualification if they beat strugglers Birmingham at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
The midlanders are outside the relegation zone on goal difference, with Wigan and Blackpool level on points going into the final match of the season.
Blackpool look unlikely to climb out of the bottom three as they travel to Old Trafford but the Latics have a decent chance of avoiding relegation as they visit Stoke.
As Spurs need a win to guarantee fifth place, Redknapp admits Sunday’s clash with the Blues will be a day of mixed emotions.
"Sunday is going to be a tough day," Redknapp added. "I wouldn’t want to be jumping up and down if we score. I have feelings for all the managers that are involved. They don’t deserve it. None of them have underachieved."