Q & A with Spurs manager Harry Redknapp
It must be an exciting season ahead for Spurs with a CL qualifying spot, how do you look at it?
Champions League football was always the dream, it is what we all wanted. It was a great achievement to finish fourth last season and now we have got a big chance of making the group stages of the Champions League if we can win our playoff against Young Boys.
Any draw is hard, it is going to be tough so we will have to see but we have got a big chance. We will be favourites but we will give them utmost respect. They beat Fenerbahce in the last round which is a fantastic result. They also have an astroturf pitch at their stadium and they play well on it, so it will be a tough game for us.
European nights at White Hart Lane have always been special so it would be great to bring Champions League football here.
You gave Tottenham its best result in many years with a fourth place finish and the CL qualifying spot, what are your aims this season?
The expectations will be very high from the fans, I'm sure. We want to do as well if not better than last year. That is the aim. We want to get through the Champions League playoff match against Young Boys, that is going to be very important to us because we want to have a run in that competition and we want to continue taking this club forward now.
Our first game of the season is Man City at home and that is a massive game for us to start with, in fact it is a big opening to the season - Man City on the Saturday, Champions League qualifier on Tuesday, Stoke away on Saturday and then Champions League return leg. Four huge games.
We have been looking good, we are a quality team. We are playing well, full of confidence and looking forward to the start of the season.
What is your take on Liverpool’s slump last season and the emergence of Manchester City?
I think Liverpool will be stronger again this season. The year before last they lost only two Premier League matches all season. Last year was obviously a bad season by their standards but they are going to be strong again this season with the signings they have made, I am sure. I think anybody finishing above Manchester City is going to be close to winning the championship. They are going to be so strong with the players you hear about them bringing in. They will be one of the teams to beat for sure.
Do you think either will crack the top four this season, and if so could Arsenal drop out?
Arsenal keeping Fabregas will be a real boost for them. It is going to be a hard division again this year for every side. Like I said, I think Liverpool will be stronger as will Man City then you have the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United who are always strong, while Aston Villa and Everton will be up there too. I think Sunderland could be pushing to get in there as well. It is going to be tough, everyone is going to be fighting and it will be very tight up there and of course we have a big chance too because we have a fantastic group of players here and we proved that last season.
What are the changes you had to bring around in the squad, playing style from the time you are managing Spurs to give your side the right finish?
I just felt getting players to believe in themselves, getting them in the right positions, pretty basic stuff. There was no magic formula really, give them a bit of confidence and picking the right players, getting the right blend.
From day one I felt we had a real chance. The fixtures at the end of the season were so tough, Arsenal at home, Chelsea at home, Man United away, with all the teams battling for the Championship and then going away to Man City and everyone felt that would be the decider. Obviously they had the advantage of being at home in what was a winner takes all game so to go there and win was a great result for us and we deserved it. We played well that night, we were the better team so it was a great achievement from the players and we have put ourselves in a position now where we can establish ourselves right there as a to four side.
What attributes will new boy Sandro bring to your side? Do you see him slotting in easily?
He is playing in the Copa Libertadores at the moment for Internacional and they've reached the final. We are looking forward to having him with us when the tournament ends. He is an outstanding young player, a strong and aggressive midfield player, who we feel has a great future. He has already played for Brazil, been called up to the latest squad, and captained their youth sides too. The chairman did a terrific job to make this deal happen. Negotiations were hard and protracted. Not too many chairmen would fly halfway round the world for their manager to get a deal done and he flew personally to Brazil twice.
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