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Spurs feeling Euro stress, admits Redknapp

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22 Apr 2012 00:17:04

Spurs feeling Euro stress, admits Redknapp

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp admitted his players are currently feeling the pressure far more than Champions League rivals Newcastle United.

A 1-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, after Newcastle had beaten Stoke 3-0 earlier in the day, means Alan Pardew's Magpies are now three points ahead in fourth spot in the Premier League with four games remaining.

Tottenham held a 10-point lead over Arsenal, the club now in third, a few weeks ago but just one win in their last nine league games has seen them falter at the most crucial point of the campaign.

Newcastle, in contrast, had not been expected by many to be challenging for the Europa League at the start of the season let alone the Champions League.

"I wouldn't think there is any pressure on them," Redknapp admitted. "They have achieved a miracle. What Alan has done there has been fantastic to get them in the position they are in. It has been a great achievement so they can relax and play.

"You have to give them credit for what they have done. And they do look good at the moment. They have some fantastic forwards."

Chelsea, a point behind Tottenham in sixth place, are also in the equation and Redknapp knew at least one of his rivals would drop points in the run in.

"I am very confident," he said. "Although we might have to win all four. I can't see Chelsea losing many, they look very strong, and Newcastle are going great. But Chelsea have got to play Newcastle.

"Then Newcastle have got to play Manchester City so it is all to play for. We are still a point ahead of Chelsea. If we win all our games it doesn't matter what they do."

Adel Taarabt scored the only goal of the game at Loftus Road via a 24th-minute free-kick.

The Morocco international was sent off 12 minutes from time for a second bookable offence but the 10 men held on to bank three valuable points for their fight against relegation.

Taarabt's goal was even more painful for Tottenham given that he is a former Spurs player, with Redknapp opting to sell him to Rangers, then in the Championship, in 2010 after just 16 games in three seasons.

Redknapp refused to admit that the 22-year-old had been inspired by a desire to wreak revenge on his former manager.

"No, he played against us at Tottenham earlier in the year and he was useless," Redknapp remarked wryly.

"He has got bags of ability and when he is on his game he can be a fantastic player.

"He has got nothing to prove to me, I always said he was a good player. Unfortunately there wasn't really a place for him in the team because Gareth Bale was playing and there was Luka Modric. He had to go and play somewhere and he has done that very well."

Victory lifted Mark Hughes' side above Wigan into 16th place and they are now three points ahead of Blackburn Rovers, the team third from bottom.

Rangers must still travel to Chelsea and Manchester City but this was their fourth successive home victory following successes over Liverpool, Arsenal and Swansea and they have a chance to extend that sequence when Stoke come to Loftus Road.

"We have got three very difficult games," Hughes admitted. "One is here and we can't allow ourselves to think that will be a given because Stoke are a very good Premier League team.

"In the last two games we have got to try to address our away form and understand what is required from ourselves in a great derby with Chelsea. If we can get something from the Chelsea game it will go a long way towards determining whether we are going to be safe or not."

Taarabt's red card - for kicking the ball away after Clint Hill fouled Aaron Lennon - was the eighth to be shown to a Rangers player this season.

"It's disappointing because we have had too many this year but I'm not going to dwell on that," said Hughes.

"I'm more pleased with the performance and the three points. He could have been given the benefit of the doubt but I'm not going to let that cloud a great day."


AFP

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