Redknapp dismisses Toon hopes

BY foxsports • October 17, 2011

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."

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