Tottenham season better than last insists Harry Redknapp - Premier League - Football - The Independent

Tottenham season better than last insists Harry Redknapp

Harry Redknapp insists Tottenham have exceeded last season's exploits despite their failure to qualify for the Champions League.

Spurs saw their fading hopes of securing a second successive campaign in Europe's top club competition crumble with Tuesday's defeat by Manchester City.

The north London club are now locked in a battle with Liverpool - their opponents at Anfield on Sunday - for fifth place in the Barclays Premier League which would bring qualification for the Europa League.

Some Spurs fans have voiced their anger at the end-of-season slump that has seen the club slip out of contention for a top-four finish.

But Redknapp insists reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League on their debut in the competition is a remarkable achievement that surpasses last season's progress.

"It's been a fantastic year, one of the best Tottenham have had since I don't know when. It's been great," he said.

"We were in the last eight of the Champions League and were pushing to finish in the top four all season. We've been right up there all season.

"We've done better this year than last year. We beat teams like Inter Milan and AC Milan in the Champions League. We've had a great run.

"If we finish fifth for me it would be a better season than last year. We crept into fourth place last year."

Spurs have fallen some distance short of the coveted Champions League places, trailing fourth-place City by nine points with two games remaining.

Redknapp insists the challenge of claiming a place among Europe's elite will only become greater and accepts Spurs must sign new players if they are to remain in contention.

"It's tough to get into that top four and it's getting tougher all the time," he said.

"We need to keep looking (for players) and I'm off to watch games tomorrow, everybody's out and about working for me watching games.

"We need to improve a little bit again if we want to keep pushing and that's the challenge for next season."

Redknapp denies it will be difficult for Spurs to keep their top players after failing to qualify for the Champions League.

"It won't be hard to keep hold of the players we have now - we never had Champions League football before," he said.

"In the past players haven't signed for us because we're in the Champions League.

"If people want to leave it's up to them, we can find other players. There are plenty of other players about."

Defender William Gallas has been ruled out of the final two games of the season with a calf problem.

Gallas sustained the injury during the defeat by City and will play no part in the Premier League clashes with Liverpool and Birmingham.

"William Gallas isn't fit, he's probably out for the season. He did a calf the other night at Man City," said Redknapp.

Redknapp revealed Ledley King could play some part at Anfield.

King came through a midweek reserves match unscathed after being sidelined for seven months with a groin injury.

"Ledley could play. He played in a game on Wednesday and came through okay. He's not trained today but if he feels okay he could be available," said Redknapp.

"Ledley's a fantastic player but Michael Dawson and William Gallas have been fantastic, so we've been okay in defence."

Heurelho Gomes will miss out against Liverpool with the back injury that also sidelined him for the clash with City.

Redknapp insists the error-prone Brazilian remains his first-choice keeper despite speculation he may be forced out in the summer.

"Yes he will be my number one. Carlo Cudicini played well the other night but Gomes will still be here. He's a top-class keeper," he said.

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