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Premier League

Tottenham urged to believe they can end 50-year title drought

Harry Redknapp was in bed with flu yesterday but the message to his Tottenham Hotspur players has been clear: winning a first title in 50 years would lead to an era competing at the top of the Premier League, just as it did for tomorrow's opponents.

Chelsea also waited half a century before bringing the title to Stamford Bridge in 2005 and after winning the championship again last season have seen Redknapp's team mount a challenge for their crown.

Victory over Arsenal last month led to Redknapp talking up his chances of finishing top, just two years after taking over a team who were rock bottom. His job since has been to instil the same confidence in his players.

"You have players in the dressing room that have won championships in other dressing rooms but it's to put that together in a team," said first-team coach Joe Jordan.

"There are clubs up there like Manchester Untied and Chelsea who have had that gap in their club history when it was a long time since they won a major championship. It is only when you break that as a team that you have the belief that you can do it again."

Since the Arsenal victory, Spurs have also beaten Liverpool and have maintained their position just behind the leading pack, despite dropping points at Birmingham last weekend."There are stumbling blocks in front of us – but the final word before they play is for those bunch of lads to believe they are good enough," Jordan added. "Harry thinks this team, whether it's now or the next couple of years, has the potential to challenge and go on to win the Premier League.

"Over the last few weeks he's actually touched on that in the dressing room because he does believe. In his final words to the players he is trying to get the players to believe within that team they can do it at Spurs."

While Chelsea have appeared destabilised since the dismissal of Ray Wilkins as assistant manager, Redknapp has accounted for his success being partly due to having his trusted backroom staff to offer advice.

Jordan said: "Through it all he likes the opinion of people he thinks have something to offer but at the end of it there is only one guy here with the final say. That's him."

Another contributing factor to Spurs' season has been the form of William Gallas, the former Chelsea defender, who arrived on a free transfer and has since been given the captain's armband. He is likely to lead the team out against his former club at White Hart Lane as Michael Dawson is still recovering from an injury to an ankle and knee.

"I'm sure people who had the opportunity to take William and didn't must think it was a big mistake," Jordan said. "We made a signing and for Harry it was not a hard decision because he is what he's always been – a top player. William Gallas came here without any training but once that was under his belt he proved himself again."