Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, yesterday admitted that finishing below the Europa League places will benefit the club's chances of finishing in the top four next season.
Spurs have a slim chance of reaching the Champions League in successive campaigns – they need victory against Blackpool today and at Manchester City on Tuesday – but find themselves in a situation where they feel sixth place would be better than fifth. Redknapp insists he wants to finish as high as possible in the Premier League, but believes Europe's second-tier competition can affect domestic form.
"Teams get in and then want to get out of it," he said. "It's amazing, half the teams put reserve teams out in the early stages as it's difficult playing every Thursday and Sunday. It disrupts you. Last year we didn't have European football and we ended up finishing fourth, and that was a big advantage to us."
Redknapp was hoping for City to get to the latter stages of the Europa League this season to help Spurs' top-four hopes. "If there were teams up there in the league and in the Europa League, you'd want to keep them in it," he said.
"I wanted Man City to stay in it this year because it was every Thursday night, slipping off to places like Azerbaijan or somewhere."Reuse content