Tottenham eager to finish fifth and avoid early start to season

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp will be more than happy to finish fifth and secure Europa League football next season if it means avoiding qualifying via the Fair Play League.

Yesterday's 2-0 victory at Anfield took them a point above Liverpool and in pole position to claim the final Europa League spot.

And while that is little consolation having enjoyed a brilliant run in their maiden Champions League campaign, it is preferable to have to go through more qualifying rounds which eat into the summer break.

"We are not fighting for the Europa League, we are fighting to finish fifth," said the Spurs boss after goals from Rafael van der Vaart and a controversial penalty from Luka Modric gave the visitors their first win in 17 league visits to Anfield, a run stretching back to 1993.

"You want to win every game and finish as high as you can, that is your pride.

"It is not ideal, playing Thursday and every Sunday (in the Europa League) is not what you want but we are there [at the moment].

"That is better than [qualifying via] the Fair Play League because you start three weeks earlier.

"I scared them before the game by saying if we don't win we are top of the Fair Play League, which means we come back in two weeks' time and start playing - they thought I was joking.

"That is going to be a nightmare for someone, I just hope it isn't us."

The defeat was Kenny Dalglish's first at home since returning in January and spoiled what was supposed to be a celebratory affair after he signed a three-year contract on Thursday.

While the team failed to hit the heights of some scintillating recent performances, the Reds boss was incensed at the officiating of Howard Webb who awarded the early second-half penalty when defender John Flanagan tangled with Steven Pienaar despite the challenge appearing to be outside the area and seemingly in the teenage full-back's favour.

"I'm not here to sponsor the FA," said the Scot, referring to the punishments dished out to the likes of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in recent weeks.

"It is unhelpful to everyone that we cannot express our true thoughts and it is even more disappointing that the officials get away scot-free without having to come in and explain their decisions.

"I think it is safer for me to leave it at that.

"We cannot legislate for refereeing mistakes but we could have been a greater help to ourselves if we had started the game better.

"They started better than we did and scored a goal and we didn't start to play for 25 minutes.

"We started to look a bit better and then at the start of the second half they got the second goal and that gave them a real foothold and we didn't have enough to break them down.

"I don't think Pepe Reina was over-busy either but we never played as well as we can play.

"That is a disappointment for the players because it would have been a fitting way to finish the season at Anfield - maybe it was too much of a fairytale.

"We feel we have short-changed the fans by not getting the result."



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project