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Premier League

Redknapp: Spurs are not 'long-ball' team

Tottenham manager 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" ahead of their match with Wolverhampton at Molineux tonight.

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.

The Spurs manager 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 captain 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.

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

Meanwhile Wolves manager Mick McCarthy insists his side can survive in the Premier League. Wolves find themselves in the relegation zone after being beaten 2-1 by Birmingham City on Sunday. They have not won a Premier League game since beating Burnley on 20 December and have picked up just two points from their last three games.

But when asked if his side had the qualities to win their survival battle, McCarthy said: "I do believe that we have got it and what you see is what you get from me. I am not any good at acting. It is irrelevant what anyone else does and we were never going to stay up on 21 points.

"We are going to have to get near to 40 points. I don't think you will need 40 to stay up but we certainly need another 16, 17, or 18 points. But we are capable of doing it and that is what gives me the confidence."