Harry Redknapp feels belief has flooded back into Tottenham Hotspur, after his new charges earned an unlikely point in a thrilling 4-4 derby with Arsenal. The Spurs manager has only been in his new post five days, yet he has already breathed life back into this previously ailing club, following last Sunday's first league win of the season and this draw at the home of their fiercest rivals.
Tottenham looked certain to lose when they trailed 4-2 with one minute of normal time remaining, but then came a revival that almost defied belief. First, Jermaine Jenas scored a beautifully-crafted goal, before Aaron Lennon reacted fastest to Luka Modric's shot hitting the post for the equaliser.
Such a comeback would have been unthinkable towards the end of Juande Ramos's tenure, when Tottenham looked bereft of confidence, but Redknapp insists morale is on the up, despite his side remaining bottom of the Premier League table. "I don't know what they were like before but I've tried to make them believe in themselves," the former Portsmouth manager said after the match at the Emirates Stadium.
"Coming back tonight, they showed what character they have. We were bang in trouble but we picked up a great result on Sunday against Bolton - if you lose to Bolton, you're in big, big trouble. Then we come here and get a point in the way we did. It was amazing."
Proof of Tottenham's renewed assertiveness came in the reaction of their players. David Bentley, who scored Spurs' first goal with a remarkable 40-yard shot over Manuel Almunia, claimed he felt like "Superman" moments after the final whistle, while Jenas was equally eager to hail Redknapp's skills. "Harry is great motivationally," the midfielder said.
"The lads have done him a favour today (Wednesday) by reacting to it. It showed complete team spirit and togetherness. We always believed. We just showed that never-give-in spirit. ."
Arsenal were inspired after falling behind to Bentley's strike, drawing level with Mikael Silvestre's header and then nudging ahead early in the second half when William Gallas nodded in. The Gunners laid siege after that, with Emmanuel Adebayor extending their lead after good work from Samir Nasri, and although Darren Bent pulled a goal back, Robin van Persie's strike from eight yards looked to have put the game beyond the visitors' reach.
It did not, however, and Arsene Wenger must now find a way of lifting his side ahead of the trip to Stoke City at the weekend. "I am angry but I would like to keep the positives tonight because I believe we were really outstanding," said the Frenchman.
"We were too cautious rather than scoring number five or six, and we made some mistakes defensively, of course, but we were superior to Spurs. .
"It's my job to raise them and to ensure there's no resentment against the mistakes we made in the team. Hopefully the maturity problem will improve with intelligence and they will learn from their mistakes. I believe that will happen because I believe in these players completely.