Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp claims win over Middlesbrough 'massive'
05 March 2009 07:46
Spurs beat West Ham 4-0 at White Hart Lane on March 9 last year and the victory over Middlesbrough took Redknapp's side into 13th place. And a win at Sunderland on Saturday - the only Premier League fixture of FA Cup weekend - would take them into the top half of the table.
But Redknapp warned: 'It pushes us up the table a bit, but it's still tight and I think there are 12 teams fighting it out. That's 10 points for our last five games and if we averaged two points from every game for the whole season we would be flying.
'The win over Middlesbrough was massive because we have some tough away games coming up, against Sunderland and Aston Villa, and we've still got to play Chelsea at home as well. We needed to put another three points on the board.'
Under Redknapp, Spurs have lost just one home game out of 16 in all competitions and he said: 'Three more wins should be enough for us, but it's so close. Even Fulham aren't totally out of it and anyone can have a run.'
The one-sided victory highlighted the continued improvement in Aaron Lennon, who will have caught the eye of watching England manager Fabio Capello with two goals.
Redknapp added: 'Aaron Lennon is in fantastic form, he is flying at the moment. Fabio saw him at Wembley and will have seen him again, and he must have a good chance of getting in the next squad.
'He is still only a kid and he needs to work on his game. He has lightening pace and he is taking things in and learning. His final ball still needs to improve.
'I talk to Aaron about his game. He has to learn to run for other people as well as himself, but he is improving.
'His little legs were still going, despite running himself into the ground at Wembley.'
But while Spurs were celebrating Middlesbrough were left to contemplate a worrying end to the season.
Despite beating Liverpool 2-0 at the weekend they dropped to 19th last night, having lost their seventh away game in succession and manager Gareth Southgate was honest in defeat.
'I thought we were poor defensively. The goals we conceded were very,
very poor,' he said. 'It was an open game of football and that is exactly what we didn't want because Spurs have better footballers than we do. Once we went behind we had to stay in the game and we didn't manage to do that.
'We came here in good spirits and, possibly, we were too buoyant after the Liverpool win. It was a big blow, but we've had plenty of those and it's how we respond now. We have got to make sure we don't get too emotionally carried away.
'If anybody in the dressing room thought we had turned the corner, then this was a wake up call for them. But in the long run it might do us good because there are still lots of matches left that we can win.'