Redknapp injects realism after Spurs snatch draw
Newcastle United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Monday 24 January 2011
If avoiding defeat through a stoppage time goal was not enough to inject some realism into Tottenham's season, their manager Harry Redknapp sought to do it with his analysis of Premier League finances.
Qualification for this season's Champions League means their current standing in fifth place is regarded as a backward step by more demanding supporters. "Suddenly, everyone's saying it is a disaster if we don't get in the Champions League," said Redknapp. "But it was a miracle last time, so fifth place would not be a disaster.
"You have to be realistic. There's Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City – how are they going to be out of the top four when they keep buying the best players in the world? If you want to be a top club, you have to keep bringing in top players. They want £100,000 a week and it's not easy to find that sort of money, especially when you have a stadium that only holds 30-odd thousand."
It is a smart move by Redknapp to dampen expectations, although their failure to dismiss a Newcastle team lacking Andy Carroll and Cheik Tioté did the job well enough. Tottenham have a depth of talent that Newcastle manager Alan Pardew envies and will even enable Redknapp to overcome the probable absence of Gareth Bale, who went off with a back injury.
No Bale? Then Redknapp knows he can switch Aaron Lennon to the left wing, from where he scored their last-gasp equaliser, and replace him with Steven Pienaar. Redknapp said: "If Gareth's not fit, I could play Aaron there for sure. I think he quite enjoys playing on that side. He gets in good positions and I think he will score more goals if he plays off the left because it's easier for him."
"He only had to come inside and he had a shot at goal. On the other wing, he's coming in on his wrong side and he's not as happy. If he played wide left, he would get a lot more goals."
Pardew would love to juggle quality players in such a manner and can be allowed a wry grin at the financial concerns of a fellow manager who still carries enough cash to have inquired about Carroll this month. Pardew is currently having to beg owner Mike Ashley for money and now expects to get his man – probably Aston Villa's Stephen Ireland – before the deadline.
Whoever arrives will be expected to buy into the one-for-all, all-for-one approach nurtured by former manager Chris Hughton and sustained by Pardew after his controversial appointment. It's fair to suspect that Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko would not be a Pardew target. Asked why the Russian was not in the squad, Redknapp said: "What did he have this week? Oh yes, it's a long way to Newcastle! He had a bit of a sore groin and he couldn't make it, so there we go."
Fabricio Coloccini, who defended superbly and claimed Newcastle's goal with a 59th-minute strike, typifies a team that is punching above its weight. "I feel really good here. It is the best I've felt in my career," he said.
Scorers: Newcastle Coloccini 59. Tottenham Lennon 90.
Substitutes: Newcastle Lovenkrands (Best, 65), Perth (Guthrie, 74), Ranger (Ameobi, 88). Unused Krul (gk), Campbell, Ferguson, Xisco. Tottenham Bassong (Bale, 11), Crouch (Jenas, 71), Kranjcar (Pienaar, 83). Unused Pletikosa (gk), Kaboul, Corluka, Sandro.
Possession Newcastle 61% Tottenham 39%.
Shots on target Newcastle 6 Tottenham 10.
Man of the match Coloccini. Match rating: 4/10.
Referee M Halsey (Herfordshire).
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