x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Harry Redknapp says Premier League is a two-way title race

The Tottenham manager predicts Manchester United and Chelsea will battle it out for the championship as he says Spurs are just concentrating on a top-four finish.

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, believes the title race is now a two-horse affair between Manchester United and Chelsea.
Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, believes the title race is now a two-horse affair between Manchester United and Chelsea.

LONDON // A failure to bolster his strikeforce in the January transfer window has made Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, realign his ambitions from challenging for the title to aiming to finish in the top four.

Redknapp was unable to lure either Diego Forlan or Guisseppe Rossi from respective Spanish clubs Atletico Madrid and Villarreal. Spurs could not match the Uruguayan striker Forlan's wage demands, and Rossi committed his future to the Yellow Submarine by signing a new deal after Spurs had a €25 million (Dh124.7m) bid rejected.

The club were also unwilling to get into a bidding war with Liverpool for Andy Carroll.

Redknapp said yesterday he believed the championship was now a two-team race between Manchester United, the leaders, and fourth-placed Chelsea.

Chelsea spent big in the transfer window as they acquired Fernando Torres, the striker, from Liverpool and David Luiz, the defender, from Benfica, for an overall outlay of £70m (Dh413.4m).

"Nothing is impossible of course and we have to keep going and see what happens, but looking at it now for me it's between United and Chelsea," Redknapp said. "I know they are a few points adrift at the moment but for me those two massive signings for Chelsea will see them kick on again.

"As it stands, United are in control and if Wayne Rooney starts to go on a really good run of form from here then it is their title.

"But with Torres in their team Chelsea can make up the ground they have lost after, don't forget, looking like the team who were going to run away with it after the first 10 games."

As to his failure in the transfer window, Redknapp said hesitation cost the team the chance to sign Mark van Bommel, the Dutch midfielder, who went from Bayern Munich to AC Milan last month.

"We would have loved to have got a player like Forlan or Rossi but in the end the fees going beyond £35 million and the astronomic wages being bandied about were out of our reach," he said.

"We have to accept that. We did have a chance of taking Mark van Bommel from Munich to give us a bit of extra experience in Europe, but on reflection I reacted a bit slowly and it didn't happen. So let's be real; I am not going to say we can go all the and win that trophy [the Champions League] so to qualify next year we have to target the top four. But it's going to be harder to do that this season than it was last season."

Looking forward to today's game with Bolton Wanderers at White Hart Lane, Redknapp has called upon Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch to start up front.

Crouch scored the winner at Blackburn Rovers in midweek for only his second league goal of the season, while Defoe has yet to open his league account this season.

"This time last year, Jermain was on course to be the league's top scorer having by this stage scored around 18 or 20. But he tailed off," Redknapp said.

"Since then he suffered injuries and a loss of confidence. Hopefully, if Jermain can start scoring consistently again, then that can give us the boost we need. The same goes for Crouchie.

"Rafa van der Vaart has weighed in with his ratio now its up to the other two lads to do the same and see where that takes us. After all the speculation about a new front man they now have the chance to prove what they can do."



7pm, Abu Dhabi Sports 6