When it was all over yesterday and he was asked if he was relieved that Tottenham Hotspur had at last emerged from their slump in the league, Harry Redknapp bristled with the kind of annoyance that suggested the pressure of finishing above Arsenal might just be starting to tell.
The fact that his Spurs team had gone five Premier League games without a victory was, Redknapp said, of so little consequence that he had hardly even noticed.
"I don't even know. If you'd said it was the first in three, I wouldn't have known. I don't go home at night worrying that we've not won. I just know we've been playing fantastically well."
Allowing Arsenal to run away with third place? Now that would have been a problem but two second-half goals from Emmanuel Adebayor yesterday means Spurs are level on 58 points with Arsenal, with seven games to play, and in fourth place on goal difference.
Not since a 5-0 win over Newcastle on 11 February had Spurs won a league game before yesterday and although their intervening run of fixtures has thrown up Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea, the doubts were starting to creep in. Pinned back to 1-1 when Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised for Swansea before the hour, this could have gone wrong. But Spurs reasserted themselves.
Redknapp was insistent that he could always see a change coming and it must surely have helped to see Arsenal's winning run halted on Saturday. "This lot have been fantastic, he said. "I've never felt there's been a problem. We just needed a bit of luck."
For all his praise for his opposite number, Brendan Rodgers, Redknapp would not accept that this game was anything other than there for the taking after the first nine minutes, when Swansea threatened.
In the end there was too much quality in Spurs' play, such as Rafael van der Vaart's 19th-minute opener (which Rodgers himself was forced to admit), and in the way Adebayor out-jumped the Swansea defence to score two identical second-half headers. Without the central defender Steven Caulker, Swansea looked susceptible toAdebayor's height and power.
"City need to win at the Emirates against Arsenal or it's all over [in the title race], Redknapp said. "It's going to be close." For now, however, Tottenham are back on track.
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