Harry Redknapp denies Tottenham wobble is linked to England speculation
Friday 23 March 2012
Harry Redknapp claims Tottenham's players could not care less if he left for England this summer and once again denied that his team's recent slump has anything to do with him being tipped to succeed Fabio Capello.
Tottenham dropped out of the Barclays Premier League top three for the first time since November on Wednesday when they drew 1-1 against Stoke.
Rafael van der Vaart's 93rd-minute equaliser ensured Tottenham were spared a humiliating fourth straight defeat, but despite gaining a draw, the club's recent slump has put a severe dent in their Champions League ambitions.
Tottenham led Arsenal by 12 points in February but now trail the third-place Gunners by one point and Redknapp's team will be two points ahead of Chelsea if they lose in tomorrow's London derby at Stamford Bridge.
Redknapp, the overwhelming favourite to be the next England boss, has seen his team collect four points from the five league matches since Capello resigned, but the 65-year-old vehemently denied the two are linked when quizzed on the subject this morning.
"Absolute nonsense. That is the biggest load of nonsense I have ever heard in my life," he said.
"They (the players) don't care whether I'm the manager next year.
"They wouldn't lose any sleep over that. That's football.
"Footballers play the game, they come in every day and train.
"Someone else walks in here tomorrow - the king is dead long live the king!
"They don't worry. They don't think 'Harry is going to England' or 'he is going to go somewhere else'.
"I have been around football all my life and it doesn't happen.
"It never enters my mind. I don't think: 'Oh, what's going to happen to me at the end of the season?'
"Whatever happens to me, happens. I don't lose any sleep over it, whether I'm here, somewhere else or nowhere. That's life."
Redknapp's men went on an 11-match unbeaten run to climb near the summit of the table towards the end of 2011, but they only team they have managed to beat in their last six games is Stevenage.
The Londoners seem to have lost the killer instinct and flair that defined their performances at the end of last year, but Redknapp denies his team have lost their spark.
"It (the poor run) has not affected our confidence at all, not in any way, shape or form," Redknapp added. "The players don't sit in there and think 'We have to make the Champions League'.
"They want to play well in every game. They will come out and train this morning and be as bright as they could be.
"There are nine games to go, a lot of points to play for and there will be lots of twists and turns between now and the end of the season."
Tottenham's derby at Chelsea tomorrow could have a big bearing on whether Redknapp's team are playing Champions League football next season.
The Blues' only defeat since Roberto Di Matteo took temporary charge was their narrow midweek loss at Manchester City and they seem to be playing with more of the fluency and verve that escaped them during the majority of Andre Villas-Boas' reign.
Chelsea fans have found their team's inability to challenge for honours this year hard to stomach, but Redknapp thinks the Blues have good enough players to bounce back from their current predicament.
"They have had one or two bad results but Chelsea have always been a top team," he said.
"They have some real winners and leaders, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba... They are a strong outfit.
"It's a big game for us. We have got a lead over Chelsea but we have to maintain it."
Spurs have not won at Stamford Bridge since 1990 and their hopes of victory tomorrow have been hindered by Aaron Lennon's ongoing hamstring troubles.
"Lennon is training. He trained yesterday, today. he will train all over the weekend, but he doesn't at the moment feel he is ready to play so he is not available," Redknapp added.
Emmanuel Adebayor, who missed Wednesday's draw, will have a test on his hamstring problem to see if he is fit to return.
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