Redknapp hits out at Tottenham critics

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has hit back at claims his side rely on Peter Crouch's height and has branded accusations of long-ball football as "rubbish".

Stoke players commented on Spurs going route one when they won at White Hart Lane earlier in the season and at the weekend Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel responded to terrace chants of his team being boring by highlighting the use of long balls to Crouch.

Redknapp insists Crouch is simply one of his options as he looks for the wins they need to get back into the Barclays Premier League top four, starting with this week's trip to Wolves who defeated them earlier in the campaign.

The Spurs boss, responding to suggestions his side favour long balls, said: "That's rubbish. Absolute nonsense. We pass the ball to death and hit Crouchy in the right areas.

"They got labelled a long-ball team by Arsenal, maybe a couple of their players wanted to pass the buck to us but I wouldn't know what a long-ball team was.

"If you can hit a 50-yard pass, it's better than a 10-yard pass or a backwards one. It's about creating strikes on goals, if it's 50 yards then it's a great ball. It's about quality."

Crouch is Redknapp's preferred partner for Jermain Defoe and has played in 10 of Spurs' last 12 games, with a lack of opportunities for Robbie Keane leading to the Republic of Ireland skipper moving on loan to Celtic.

"Every time we hit Crouchy against Villa he knocked the ball down and we had chances to score," Redknapp said. "If you are going to have Peter Crouch in your team you have to use him, you can't expect him to run up channels or to come short. That's not his game.

"He is an option when teams fill up the midfield and you can't pass through them. We have that great option to miss out the midfield, hit him and pick things up around the box.

"That is what makes us a much better team - we have options and don't have to keep passing.

"You can pass all day. We've seen that recently from teams. People say they are playing fantastic football but they are not winning games.

"We are playing fantastic football but also have an option with Crouchy as well, which is good."

Spurs dropped out of the Champions League places when they drew with Villa on Saturday but Redknapp feels his team are playing well enough to sustain a challenge for a top-four place, even if he considers Liverpool favourites.

Redknapp said: "We're still right there. It's not easy to win games, Manchester City showed that against Hull at the weekend.

"We've only had one defeat in 12 games and everyone is in the peak of their form. We've got a big chance still.

"We know it will be difficult, Liverpool are back where people thought they would be at the start of the season. It will be hard to finish above them to start with but it's good we have a chance.

"Liverpool are are probably favourites. Man City, ourselves and Villa are pushing. It's going to be tight."

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