Tottenham's Harry Redknapp says Europa League qualification would be distracting
20 April 2009 02:04
Redknapp had to juggle a relegation battle and a fight for silverware on two fronts since arriving at the club six months ago, with the Uefa Cup the least important of his priorities.
The Spurs boss will also be aware the last time the club challenged for a place in the top four their focus was solely on the league, having been knocked out of domestic trophies at the first hurdles three years ago.
He is still focused on getting the club into the revamped Europa League – but knows the problems it brings.
"I'd be a liar if I said it wasn't a bit of a distraction, it makes it hard in terms of league position and everything else," he said. "But your pride wants you to get there.
"From where we were it would be a terrific achievement – that is my aim now, to try to achieve that."
Victory over Newcastle at the weekend put Spurs a point from seventh place.
"We are one point off so things are looking up – we have to kick on," said midfielder Tom Huddlestone. "We're staying up which is the main thing, and now we have to push on and try to get seventh."
Huddlestone went to hospital last week with a neck injury but was fit enough to face Alan Shearer's Newcastle.
Michael Dawson was carried off on a stretcher after an ankle injury, with the club's medical staff waiting for swelling to subside before determining the full extent of the damage.
Roman Pavlyuchenko meanwhile missed the game with a back complaint but is looking to return against Manchester United on Saturday.
"I felt a sharp pain in my back in training on Wednesday," the 27-year-old said. "It was difficult to move.
"I was treated every day and hoped that I would have recovered for the Newcastle match.
"But when I arrived at the stadium and tried to accelerate, the pain had not gone, so we decided not to risk it.
"I think that in a day or two everything will be fine and I'll be fully prepared for the next game. Moreover, we will be going to play Manchester United."