Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp is backing Manchester United to finish this season with an unprecedented haul of five trophies. "They have got a big chance. They are the team to beat for sure," Redknapp said after a goalless League Cup final was resolved by United beating his side 4-1 in the penalty shoot-out.
"They have a fantastic squad. They have one cup already, it looks as if the league is going their way for sure and you wouldn't bet against them in the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup," Redknapp said.
In addition to the trophy they collected today, United also won the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2008™, but their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, continues to play down the chances of his side retaining their UEFA Champions League and Premier League trophies while going on to win the FA Cup.
"I'm not going to get carried away with it," Ferguson said. "Only you guys, the media, will. We will keep our feet on the ground. My experience is we could go to Fulham this weekend in the FA Cup and the ball comes off somebody's backside and we are out of the cup. That is what cups can do to you."
Ferguson acknowledged that Tottenham might easily have won today's match before the shoot-out but for the heroics of Ben Foster, who made two crucial saves in open play before stopping Jamie O'Hara's opening spot-kick for Spurs.
"It was not an easy day for us," Ferguson said. "We have played better this season, but cup finals are not easy. Tottenham were good opponents and they probably had the better chances in the match, but Ben has made a few good saves for us."
Ferguson said Foster's performance was another sign that, as well as being the natural successor to Edwin van der Sar at United, he could go on to be England's number one for a long time. "The future is his," Ferguson said. "The present belongs to Van der Sar, that is obvious, but that performance can only strengthen my opinion of his ability and his own self-confidence.
"He is a strong character. He has had to be," Ferguson added. "He has had to come through two cruciate ligament injuries and you have to have something inside you to do that."
Despite his admiration for United, Redknapp was delighted with his team's performance, and felt they had the edge in the contest. "The lads were terrific, we just could not get that break," he said. "I thought we were going to win it in the last minute [when Darren Bent drew a good save from Foster]."
Spurs' fate was sealed after O'Hara had their first penalty saved by Foster and David Bentley steered the third spot-kick wide. O'Hara was left in tears, but Redknapp offered consolation.
"Jamie was the first to volunteer to take one. Unfortunately the goalkeeper has made a good save, but he is okay. I'm just pleased I got him on today. He left in tears last year when he did not get in the squad for the final last year. He feels for the club and he is a terrific lad."