Redknapp dismisses Toon hopes

Shola Ameobi’s late strike ensured the Magpies denied Spurs a fifth

successive league win and maintained their elevated status in the

table after an unbeaten start to the season which now amounts to 10

games in all competitions. However, asked if he expects the usual

suspects to fight out the battle for the Champions League berths,

Redknapp agreed. He said: “I don’t want to be disrespectful to

Newcastle, but if they finish in the top four, Alan Pardew should

be made manager of the year, for sure. “I’m not saying it’s

impossible – nothing is impossible. But if you are asking my honest

opinion, it’s going to be very difficult. “Liverpool are strong,

Arsenal will come back, Tottenham are strong, and Manchester City,

Manchester United and Chelsea, well… “But they are going very

well and Alan has done a great job here.” Newcastle showed real

mettle as they refused to surrender their unbeaten start to the

campaign and fought back twice after falling behind. The did so

initially from the penalty spot when, after Emmanuel Adebayor had

been tripped by Steven Taylor, Rafael van der Vaart obliged from 12

yards. However, Demba Ba levelled within three minutes of the

restart, capitalising on Jonas Gutierrez’s mazy run and pinpoint

cross. Substitute Jermain Defoe looked to have won it within five

minutes of his arrival when he turned smartly to blast past Tim

Krul with 68 minutes gone. However, fellow newcomer Ameobi ensured

that the spoils were shared when he drilled home a superb left-foot

shot four minutes from time. Both sides might have snatched victory

in a thrilling conclusion, but a delighted Pardew was refusing to

reassess his targets for the season as he turned his attention to

next weekend’s visit of lowly Wigan to St James’ Park. He said: “We

haven’t looked at them because we have got our targets which we

think are achievable for us in the short term in this first half of

the season, and we will stick to those. “We go into Wigan and if we

are fortunate enough to have a bit of fortune against them and get

a result, we will have 19 points, and that would be some

achievement, almost halfway to safety. “Once you clear those sort

of barriers, then you can start looking at other things. “There

were times last year I stood on the sideline and there was a fair

distance between us and the top sides, but I think we have closed

that gap. “Whether we can sustain it – we are still going to need

our key players to stay fit, but we have still got players in the

background who can make an impact as well. “As I stand here today

unbeaten, that’s a fantastic achievement by the players and the

staff.”