Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has dispelled any talk of playing it safe by telling his team to look for goals and a victory at Manchester City on Sunday as they bid to maintain their challenge for the Premier League title.
Leaders City, who won 5-1 at Spurs in August, are unbeaten at home in the league this season but third-placed Tottenham traditionally did well against the Manchester club before their vast riches helped Roberto Mancini assemble his current side.
“I think we can go there and play really well on Sunday. They will know they’ve had a game I’m sure,” Redknapp told reporters at Tottenham’s training ground on Friday.
“We will go there with a positive team. I wouldn’t want to go there and sit back. I think we have got people who can hurt them. I’m looking to go and take the game to them if we can. They have got outstanding forward players and they are a good team, but so are we.”
Redknapp will have to juggle his side on Sunday with striker Emmanuel Adebayor ineligible to play against his parent club while on loan at Spurs.
He is poised to start with forward Jermain Defoe, the club’s top scorer with 11 goals despite often being on the bench.
“I’ve got Jermain. He has been bursting for a chance... so he will get the opportunity to play. It’s another big game. We want to go there and get a result and play well and come away with something from the game,” he said
William Gallas and Sandro are not fit after suffering calf strains while skipper Ledley King is very doubtful.
Spurs, five points behind City, started this season under a cloud. Defeats by Manchester United and City followed their first home game against Everton being postponed because of the London riots that started in the Tottenham area.
Since then however, they have lost once in 19 league matches to rise from bottom to third and although they remain outsiders, a first title since their league and FA Cup double-winning year in 1961 is not out of the question.
Asked about the 5-1 City hammering, Redknapp said: “We lost goals early in the game. We had injuries. It was a difficult game. The midfield wasn’t what you would have expected us to start the season with in all honesty.”
Things are very different now.
“It’s a great time of the season for us to be involved where we are. Sitting two points behind (second-placed) Manchester United and 10 points in front of Arsenal at this stage of the season is not something that normally happens,” Redknapp added.
“It has been an amazing season for us after we lost the first two games. We had two bad beatings and to come back and be where we are has been fantastic but we have just got to carry that on now for the rest of the season and that’s what we aim to do.
“People keep saying Man United haven’t played well. They have got 48 points. God knows what’s going to happen if they start playing well. It’s frightening.”
Asked if a defeat would end Tottenham’s title hopes, he added: “I’ve said many times a six-point, seven-point, eight-point lead can evaporate very quickly.
“I will have one eye on Arsenal’s game (versus Manchester United) as well after. We want to make sure we keep pushing on and get that Champions League place. That’s the key.”
While Redknapp has troubles of his own - his court case on tax evasion charges which he denies starts on Monday - he still found time to joke about the controversy surrounding Mancini, who has been criticised for waving imaginary red cards recently.
“(If he does that on Sunday) I will set (coach) Joe (Jordan) on him. Joe speaks Italian, he can talk to him.”
More seriously, Redknapp added: “I don’t like it. Not for me. I wouldn’t do it. I don’t like to see it. I don’t think there’s any need for that really. But he has done a great job there and whenever I have met him I’ve found him to be a really good guy.”
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