Tottenham Hotspur still have a
"massive chance" to salvage something from their crumbling
season, according to manager Harry Redknapp, although their
hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League appear to be
diminishing by the day.
Sunday's 5-1 hammering by Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final
did not have any impact on their battle with the Blues, and
Newcastle United, for fourth place but it was another crushing
blow for the North London club, whose have suffered a
spectacular collapse in form.
While Tottenham still sit fourth with five games remaining,
a position that would secure a playoff berth for the Champions
League, the momentum that took them to the fringe of the title
race in February has disappeared.
"It's a big disappointment for everyone, us, the fans and
we're sorry how it's gone but we've got to start again," said
Redknapp after a Wembley defeat which will be remembered for
Chelsea's highly contentious second goal.
"We've still got a massive chance to finish fourth and we
have to make sure we do it."
Since Redknapp walked free from a tax evasion trial on February 8
and straight to the top of the list as favourite to replace
former England coach Fabio Capello, who quit on the same day,
Tottenham have managed just two league wins.
A 10-point lead over Arsenal could become an eight-point
deficit if their North London rivals best Wigan Athletic at home
later on Monday while Newcastle are level on points in fifth and
Chelsea just two adrift.
While on paper Tottenham may have the easier run-in of the
three teams battling for fourth, their form has deserted them at
the most crucial part of the season with the likes of Gareth
Bale, Luka Modric and Emmanuel Adebayor struggling to scale the
heights of earlier in the campaign.
Redknapp is quick to rubbish suggestions that speculation
surrounding the England job has disrupted Tottenham's season.
However, he admits that his side must quickly rediscover
their spark if they are to have a chance of another campaign in
the Champions League they lit up last season.
While Chelsea have Barcelona to occupy their thoughts in the
Champions League semi-final on Wednesday before they face
Arsenal in a crucial Premier League match on Saturday, Tottenham
now face another tricky London derby at Queens Park Rangers.
They have not won away in the league since December 27 and QPR
will be no pushover as they battle to avoid relegation.
"We have to bounce back, it's a test of character now,"
Redknapp said. "I've got to find a team with the nerve, the
willpower and the desire to get fourth spot. We have a very
tough game against QPR now."
With Chelsea's eyes on cup distraction and Spurs in a slump,
Newcastle could emerge as the surprise package and pip both the
London clubs for fourth.
Five consecutive victories have seen Alan Pardew's side roar
into contention and their next two games are at home to Stoke
City and away to Wigan before a potentially key clash against
Chelsea just three days before their FA Cup final against
With a Europa League place all but assured already, the
Magpies will approach the finale full of optimism.
"I have never actually ruled it out. The press kept saying
to me, 'Are you going to make the Champions League?', and I said
we were just looking to win the next game," Pardew told
"To have this points total and not make Europe would be
tough to take, so we have got to keep our eye on the ball, and
we aren't giving up on anything."
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