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Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur: Preview

By: Akshet Shetty 15 Oct 2010 20:24:46

Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur: Preview

Mark Hughes has defended Danny Murphy in response to the furore over the Fulham captain's comments that some managers send their players out too pumped up.

Stoke, Wolves and Blackburn were named by Murphy, who branded some tackles "ridiculous" and "brainless" and insisted managers should take responsibility.

Rovers boss Sam Allardyce led the backlash on Thursday by demanding an apology, but Hughes refused to condemn his player.

"You must recognise that Danny is at the coalface," said Hughes.

"In his view in certain games against certain opposition, opponents have over-stepped the mark.

"You have to accept that because even as a manager you don't know the intent of somebody.

"As a player I knew when someone was over-stepping the line or just making a fair and competitive tackle.

"There's a lot been said about Danny being disrespectful to the manager, but having had conversations with him he has huge respect for the managers of the teams he mentioned.

"Maybe the fact we had recent history against the teams he mentioned was fresh in his mind and he was giving examples.

"We're disappointed by the reaction to it. You must respect he has an opinion. He was being honest.

"He's an honest guy and has forthright views. He's quite prepared to have his say. He's probably been surprised by the reaction.

"He wanted to make a point. Whether he did that in the right manner is open to debate."

Damien Duff and Dickson Etuhu will miss the clash with Tottenham.

Duff is being rested in an attempt to overcome a niggling calf injury while Etuhu will be out for between two to three weeks with an ankle problem.

Mousa Dembele is available after recovering from his ankle injury but Andy Johnson (knee) is still one week away from a first team return.

Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp believes Premier League football one day will be played all around the world.

The Tottenham manager says it is the inevitable outcome from the influx of foreign owners in the English league.

In a week in which Liverpool's future has been fought out in courts on both sides of the Atlantic, Redknapp describes the changing face of English football traditions as "sad".

He said: "You're not going to bring people in from America and suddenly they are going to have real understanding of football. They buy it as an investment.

"When we started playing football Bob Lord, the chairman at Burnley, was the local butcher. At West Ham, the owner had a wood yard up in Wanstead flats, it was their club and they lived for it. The same at Arsenal and Tottenham.

"Now we are full of foreign owners. It's nice to see clubs owned by people with feelings for the club, English owners, like at West Ham. Tottenham are the same, we have English owners. It's important they understand the tradition of the club and what the fans feel and expect.

"Sheffield Wednesday are being bought by someone in the Far East - we'll all end up playing our games in the Far East. We'll end up with games all over the world. That's what will happen eventually. They'll want to take their club to their own countries to play."

Redknapp is more concerned with taking three points than worrying about resting players for the Champions League encounter against Inter Milan on Wednesday.

With long-term injury victim Michael Dawson still missing and William Gallas and Younes Kaboul back in training but not yet ready, Redknapp's big decision is whether to play central defender Ledley King at the weekend or on Wednesday. His chronic knee injuries prevent him playing twice in close succession.

But Redknapp insists the league remains Tottenham's priority.

"It is hard balancing the Champions League with the Premier League," admitted Redknapp.

"If we want to play Champions League football like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal invariably do every year we have to finish in the top four again.

"We also want a good run in the Champions League but if you go out of the Champions League and finish halfway up the table, at the end of the year if you are not in European football it is not good. These next two league games for me are massive."


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