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Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp insists Manchester United would love some of his stars

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15 Jan 2011 01:26:58

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp insists Manchester United would love some of his stars

As Sir Alex Ferguson says, what promises to be a fascinating encounter at White Hart Lane on Sunday amounts to something of a first for Manchester United and Tottenham. 'I can't remember ever taking United to the Lane with Tottenham challenging for the league,' said Ferguson. It is also the first of four encounters that could well determine if Ferguson does emerge with another Premier League title. And if his team, for all the consistency they have shown so far this season, really do possess the quality to take the club beyond Liverpool with a 19th English championship. Old friends: Sir Alex Ferguson and Harry Redknapp 'We still have to go to Arsenal, Stamford Bridge, Liverpool and Tottenham,' said Ferguson. 'This is the first one, but you have to go through it every season. It's part of the programme.' United might be unbeaten so far but emerging from those four games unscathed is going to take some doing, even if Ferguson takes confidence from the way some of his younger players have matured. Nani is fast becoming one of the finest wingers in the game, Rafael da Silva is starting to prove himself a worthy successor to Gary Neville, Javier Hernandez has been quick to make an impact and Anderson, too often a source of frustration for Ferguson, is contributing. Add the fact that Dimitar Berbatov is enjoying his best form as a United player and Wayne Rooney, back from injury on Sunday, is showing signs of a return to form and Ferguson's side are in pretty good shape. Especially when Rio Ferdinand now seems to be managing his fragile body better. Not that Ferguson's contribution should be under-estimated. Guiding this particular squad of players to the title would amount to one of his finest achievements. On Friday, he chose to focus on the mix of old heads and young hearts sitting pretty at the summit of the English game. 'So far we are acquitting ourselves well,' he said. 'We are in a good position in the league, in the next stage of the European Cup and we have overcome a tricky third-round game against Liverpool in the FA Cup. Everything is working well.' Ferguson likes Harry Redknapp. Respects him, too. For that reason he did not venture too far into the areas he usually favours ahead of such matches. The mind games he will save for others. He could not, however, resist the opportunity to point out that this is new territory for Tottenham. 'Apart from challenging for the league, their progress in the Champions League has been tremendous,' said Ferguson. Heading for victory: Nani celebrates his controversial goal to seal victory for United against Tottenham back in October 'The turnaround since Harry went there has been staggering. Their performances this season have been excellent. Against Inter Milan in the Champions League they were brilliant.' Gareth Bale was particularly impressive that night and Ferguson reflected on the time when he was trying to sign the Welshman as a teenager at Southampton. 'I think they must have alerted Tottenham,' he moaned. He recognises how well Bale has developed under Redknapp. 'Harry has found a position for him that is using his talents,' he said. 'He has tremendous speed and is a great crosser of the ball. He has made an exciting contribution. But they also have Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon, so they have some exciting players. 'But the bigger challenge is coming up for them; whether they can stand that test of time, when they have to combine the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Premier League.' Redknapp would probably respond by shoving Fergie's quote in front of Daniel Levy and asking his chairman for more money to spend in the transfer market. But performances like the defeat of Inter Milan will convince him his side can end United's unbeaten run and give him the confidence to ignore Ferguson's assessment. 'We're probably better opposition than a lot of teams they have played away from home so far,' he said. 'I feel we've got people who can cause them problems, for sure. There is quality in our team Modric, Van der Vaart, if they link up. Bale and Lennon can be a threat to anybody. We're certainly dangerous going forward. 'We will play the way we play, with Van der Vaart behind the front man. We'll play with two wide men and see how we go. But it's a game where we need to try to close the gap because if they beat us, they've run away from us. 'There's no reason why we shouldn't believe and they are going to be worried about us.' So can Spurs last the distance? 'Only time will tell,' said Redknapp. 'But we've got good players here, players that Alex would love to have at Old Trafford. I'm confident.'  Sir Alex: Redknapp's straightforward approach is secret to Spurs successDavid Beckham was never going to play for Spurs against us insists Sir Alex FergusonAll the latest Manchester United news, features and opinionAll the latest Tottenham Hotspur news, features and opinion


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