Harry Redknapp turns attention to Arsenal clash

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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp turned his thoughts to Sunday's London derby against Arsenal and put the Europa League in sharp perspective after his Tottenham side had come from behind to beat Irish part-timers Shamrock Rovers in their Group A match at White Hart Lane.

The Tottenham manager, who substituted England winger Aaron Lennon at half-time with a groin problem, admitted he was worried a shock was on the cards before his side eventually won 3-1 but it was the three points against Arsenal which were foremost in his mind.

Redknapp said: "We'll give it (Europa League) our best shot and see where it takes us. Hopefully we can get through the qualifying group and then look at it again.

"The Premier League is always, for me, the biggest. It's no good at the end of the year people saying Tottenham did well, they got to the semi-final of the Europa League, but finished seventh or eighth in the league again. That's not what I want.

"I want us to have a real go in the Premier League this year and we are capable of doing that. We have fantastic players here, we play some great football, we are a good team.

"Arsenal are dangerous, they are a threat and we will have to be at our best if we are going to win."

On Lennon, Redknapp added: "Aaron's okay. He said his groin was a bit stiff and he didn't feel he could play on but I don't think it's too bad. We'll see when he comes in in the morning."

Stephen Rice put Rovers ahead but three goals in five second-half minutes from Roman Pavlyuchenko, Jermain Defoe and Giovani Dos Santos saw Tottenham safely home and left Rovers manager Michael O'Neill admitting he had dreamed of what might have been.

O'Neill said: "I kept looking at the clock (when we scored) and it was telling us there was a long way to go still. You do start to think 'Can we actually see this out?'

"Ultimately, Tottenham's pace and freshness overcame us in the last half hour but the players gave every ounce of effort.

"They played with great heart even when the score went to 3-1. They were a credit to themselves, the club and the League of Ireland.

"Everybody will be saying how well we've done and there will be lots of pats on the back but the main thing is the players did themselves justice. We ended up gallant losers."

O'Neill explained why his side faded in the latter stages.

He said: "In the second half you saw a team which is at the end of its season against one at the start of its season and that's the reality.

"Given the difference in quality between the teams we need to be as fresh as possible.

"Some of our players have played 50 competitive games this season. It was a huge ask."

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