Redknapp stresses top-four challenge
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has refused to admit defeat in his side's quest to finish fourth in the Premier League.
A top-four place would allow Tottenham to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season but, after being held to a 2-2 draw by West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League yesterday, that target is now in the balance.
Tottenham would have leapfrogged Manchester City into fourth with a victory over the Baggies, yet a late goal from Simon Cox meant Redknapp's men have now recorded just one win in their last seven games. Those results left Spurs one point behind City, who can open up a four-point lead if they beat Blackburn Rovers tomorrow.
"It is going to be difficult but it is still all there to play for. I find it hard that now everyone expects us to be in the Champions League," said Redknapp. "Tottenham had never been in the Champions League before until this season and suddenly it is like 'we have to be in the Champions League'.
"Manchester City have gone out and spent God knows what to get above us. Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are there every year, Liverpool will be there next year. But it is difficult to get that fourth place. It has been a great season and it is not over yet.
"Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United will expect to be in the Champions League every season. It is very hard to break into that group but we are still there. There is nothing between City and us at the top. We are only talking about a point's difference."
Cox hits 'world-class' equaliser
Tottenham's afternoon got off to a bad start when Peter Odemwingie put West Brom ahead in the fifth minute, capitalising on a slip-up by Benoit Assou-Ekotto to curl past Heurelho Gomes.
Tottenham levelled in the 27th minute when Roman Pavlyuchenko hammered in after Chris Brunt had failed to clear the ball. Jermain Defoe's 100th goal for Tottenham looked to have sealed the three points for Spurs when he netted in the 67th minute with a low finish from the edge of the box.
Yet there was still time for another twist as second-half substitute Cox curled home from the edge of the box with only nine minutes remaining. Redknapp admitted he was disappointed to see his side surrender their lead. "At 2-1, I thought we were looking fine. I could not see that coming. The kid Cox has hit a world-class strike," he said.
While Redknapp is struggling to get his side back to winning ways, West Brom's form has been good. Victories over Birmingham City, Liverpool and Sunderland, plus draws with Arsenal and now Tottenham have lifted them to 12th in the table.
And West Brom manager Roy Hodgson admits he is relieved to reach the 40-point mark regarded as the minimum number of points to beat relegation. He said: "I am delighted with the point because Tottenham have been in excellent form. It's given us what looks to be an important point given the way other results have gone.
"It has taken us to a psychological point at least, which is 40 points. A lot of people would say that is enough to save us from relegation but I think we might need a point or two more. It is a work in progress with West Brom but I am really pleased with the way things have gone since I joined the club."