Forget about Milan - Redknapp

BY foxsports • February 11, 2011

Spurs looked set to lose ground on their rivals last weekend but Niko Kranjcar's injury-time winner against Bolton, and Chelsea's loss to Liverpool, moved Redknapp's team level on points with the fourth-placed champions. Much of the attention on the club has centred on their failed bid for the Olympic Stadium and next Tuesday's glamour tie with Milan at the San Siro. But Redknapp is keen to throw the focus back on Saturday's game in the knowledge that Manchester City's Champions League hopes could be hit in their derby with United. A victory will also see Tottenham move ahead of Chelsea, who play Fulham on Monday, and Redknapp has called on his team to build on last week's win by recording their third straight triumph. He said: "Tomorrow is a key game for us. It's the one you worry about. "We are bang in the frame with the top four and are looking to do our best to keep up there so the league games are all important to us. "Focusing on Sunderland shouldn't be difficult because the players know the importance of it. "We have picked up six good points recently and the results last week have put us right into the group again. "There is nothing between the teams pushing for that fourth spot. We have to focus on that now. That's the key thing." Tottenham fans have been treated to some entertaining European matches in their first season in the competition - most notably the two games against Inter Milan - and the experience has left Redknapp hungry for more. "If we got back into the Champions League again it would be great for us," Redknapp said. "We have had a great run, we have loved every minute of it and we want some more." Redknapp has serious doubts over whether the man who starred in both games against Inter this year - Gareth Bale - will be fit for Tuesday. The Welshman grabbed the headlines with a sublime hat-trick in the San Siro last October before embarrassing Brazil right-back Maicon on the way to securing a 3-1 victory against the Italians the following month. Bale has not played for Tottenham for three weeks thanks to a back injury and will miss tomorrow's game, along with star forward Rafael van der Vaart, who is struggling with a calf injury. Luka Modric is also a doubt for Tuesday's game after having an operation to remove his appendix a fortnight ago. Redknapp admits he has no idea whether any of the trio will be fit enough to make it for the Milan match. "They are all struggling at the moment. It's difficult to say whether they'll be fit for Tuesday," the 63-year-old said. "Luka has started jogging but isn't available tomorrow. Rafa has a calf strain and Gareth is coming back slowly. "We have one or two injuries but hopefully it won't be too long." Wilson Palacios is also a doubt after he made the long journey from London to Honduras to take part in his country's friendly against Ecuador on Thursday. Redknapp is not happy that the midfielder, who has been struggling with a knee injury, was forced to make the trip for the match. "International week is a nightmare," Redknapp said. "Wilson played last week when we weren't sure whether he'd be fit and now he has had to go and play in a friendly game all the way to Honduras. "I'm not sure of the flight time but it's horrendous." Roman Pavlyuchenko could start on Saturday despite being linked with a move to Spartak Moscow this week. The striker voiced his despair at his limited game time in the Russian press this week, but Redknapp insists he must stop complaining and prove his worth to the team on the pitch. Redknapp added: "Pav has been talking in the newspapers but when he plays he has to go out and grab the opportunity."


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