Redknapp hopes Twente tussle can reinvigorate Lennon

After tripping up against their two biggest local rivals Arsenal and West Ham United in the past week, Tottenham Hotspur hope to rediscover their form against more exotic opposition tonight in the Champions League with the visit to White Hart Lane of the Dutch champions FC Twente.

Juggling the twin challenges of Champions League and Premier League is proving to be a demanding test for Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, whose task has been made significantly harder by a succession of injuries to key players, including most of his centre-halves, and a loss of form for others.

England winger Aaron Lennon is one of those high-profile Tottenham players who is suffering right now. Overlooked by England manager Fabio Capello since the World Cup Lennon has been way below his best so far this season.

Redknapp has been treating Lennon, 23, with kid gloves in training, to try and rebuild his shattered confidence. Redknapp even suggested he might pitch him against a much slower player in training, just to give him a lift.

"He [Lennon] is a quiet little lad but one game can turn it for him. He needs to get a bit of confidence. Maybe in training, you stick somebody at left-back who you're confident he can get by. I'm sure I can find one," Redknapp said.

"I think it's about confidence. You've got to keep working with him, because, when he's on his game he's a top-class wide player, so we need to get him back to doing that again. He's got left out [by England] but he's got to fight through that, he can't give up. He's a young kid with great ability and needs to find a way to get the best out of himself."

The Spurs coaches have been working hard with Lennon to make him less predictable, and therefore more dangerous. "When someone's got that talent you have to find a way to work with him, getting his confidence back, getting him playing well. Whatever it takes," Redknapp said. "You have to spend time knocking balls out to him, getting him against full-backs one-on-one, showing him to run behind people and if you can't get it to feet, do something else. He's got to mix his game up."

Redknapp could do with a lift, after a stuttering start to the season that has seen him lose several defenders to injury. That was not improved yesterday when Younes Kaboul limped out of training with a hamstring strain, meaning Vedran Corluka is likely to partner Sébastien Bassong in the centre of the defence, although Redknapp could take a gamble on the fitness of captain Ledley King. Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes however came through training yesterday and is ready to return after a month out with a groin injury.

The defeats to Arsenal and West Ham have dampened the excitement in the build-up to the first full Champions League game to be held at the Lane. Redknapp however promised that his team will attack their Dutch visitors, who were managed for the past two seasons by former England manager Steve McClaren. He has since moved on to German side Wolfsburg, leaving former Belgium goalkeeper Michel Preud'homme to take over. So far the Belgian has yet to taste defeat, as Twente are unbeaten this season in nine games in all competitions, and are fourth in the Eredivisie.

Tottenham, in contrast, have lost their last two games, and Redknapp admitted his team need to learn, and learn quickly, how to cope with juggling the two competitions.

Redknapp revealed a recent conversation with former West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola about the demands on players, and the Italian recalled from his days with Chelsea how difficult it is for players to lift themselves for the humdrum routine of Premier League fixtures. "Zola said when Chelsea first went into the Champions League and it was fresh and exciting, they found it more difficult getting up for the bread-and-butter games," Redknapp said.

Recent league defeats to West Ham and Wigan, and an unconvincing display against Wolverhampton Wanderers, suggest Tottenham's players are also struggling with balancing both competitions.

Redknapp said: "They [Chelsea] just got on with it in the end and realised they had to cope with that. We have to do the same. It's a great position to be in, playing in the Champions League. We want to stay in it. We've also got to take care of the league form. Only fighting on two fronts now, the FA Cup's not around and we are out of the Carling Cup. It shouldn't be that difficult."

Group A

Results so far FC Twente 2 Internazionale 2, W Bremen 2 Tottenham 2.

Tottenham's remaining fixtures Tonight: FC Twente (h); 20 Oct: Internazionale (a); 2 Nov: Internazionale (h); 24 Nov: Werder Bremen (h); 7 Dec: FC Twente (a).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent