Redknapp: Stars will stay at White Hart Lane
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has branded speculation that he will have to sell his star players this summer as "absolute rubbish".
Tottenham host Real Madrid tonight in the latest episode of a memorable debut season in the UEFA Champions League. Their qualification to next year's competition looks far from assured, however.
The Londoners trail Manchester City by just three points but their run-in includes showdowns with their nearest rivals and title contenders Arsenal and Chelsea. The importance of Tottenham qualifying for next year's Champions League was highlighted by recent financial results, which showed that the club's revenue increased 49 per cent during the six months that followed their qualification to this season's competition.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy admitted that he would like to trim the squad, but Redknapp is adamant that does not mean he will have to sell the likes of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, both of whom have been linked with big-money moves to some of Europe's most decorated clubs.
Asked whether he would have to sell the likes of Bale and Modric, Redknapp said: "Not a chance. Absolutely rubbish. They've all got contracts, none of them are leaving. When Daniel said that we might have to trim the squad, he was talking about a lot of players on loan. That's what he is talking about."
Redknapp believes that his side can challenge for the Premier League title in the next few years if they continue to progress at their current rate. To emphasise just how keen they are to become challengers, the club lodged failed bids in excess of £30 million for Sergio Aguero and Giuseppe Rossi in January.
Redknapp is confident that Levy will back him in the summer in order to help his dream become a reality. He said: "We're not far off anybody really, we're right there. We're not far off Arsenal. With one or two quality players in the summer we can be right there."
Battle against the odds
The club have beaten both Milan giants to make the quarter-finals, but have a huge mountain to climb if they are to make it through to the last four after last week's first-leg thrashing in Madrid. No team in the history of the competition has been able to overturn a four-goal margin from a first-leg defeat, although three teams have managed it in other UEFA tournaments.
Bookmakers rate Spurs' chances of making the semi-finals as long as 50-1, but Redknapp nonetheless cut a relaxed and optimistic figure today despite last week's 4-0 hammering in Madrid. "We are in a situation where everyone feels the tie is over but we know we are a good team and can play well here at White Hart Lane," Redknapp said.
"We know it will take a miracle but miracles can happen and we have to believe that we can give it our best shot tomorrow and if we play very well, you never know what will happen. I went last year to see Juventus at Craven Cottage and Fulham were 3-1 down after the first leg and then went 1-0 down on the night early on. They came back and won the tie.
"It was one of the great games I've seen and shows that anything is possible. You never know with football. We have to turn in a good performance and see if we can win the game and we will see where it takes us from there. We will see how it develops."
The attacking football that Redknapp has employed throughout the competition has endeared the team to many neutrals, but the Tottenham manager admits he may have to rein his team in for the first time tomorrow, despite the four-goal deficit. "It's OK saying you're going to attack them but you can't be that open," Redknapp added.
"You are playing against world-class players. You don't want to start bombing forward and be ripped open on the counter-attack and get hammered that way. You have to be controlled and take the chances when they come and give it our best go."