Harry Redknapp claims Tottenham’s players could not care less if he left for England this summer and once again denied that his team’s recent slump has anything to do with him being tipped to succeed Fabio Capello.
Tottenham dropped out of the Barclays Premier League top three for the first time since November on Wednesday when they drew 1-1 against Stoke.
Rafael van der Vaart’s 93rd-minute equaliser ensured Tottenham were spared a humiliating fourth straight defeat, but despite gaining a draw, the club’s recent slump has put a severe dent in their Champions League ambitions.
Tottenham led Arsenal by 12 points in February but now trail the third-place Gunners by one point and Redknapp’s team will be just two points ahead of Chelsea if they lose in today’s London derby at Stamford Bridge.
Redknapp, the overwhelming favourite to be the next England boss, has seen his team collect four points from the five league matches since Capello resigned, but the 65-year-old vehemently denied the two are linked.
“Absolute nonsense. That is the biggest load of nonsense I have ever heard in my life,” he said. “They [the players] don’t care whether I’m the manager next year. They wouldn’t lose any sleep over that. That’s football.
“Footballers play the game, they come in every day and train. Someone else walks in here tomorrow — the king is dead long live the king!
“They don’t worry. They don’t think, ‘Harry is going to England’ or ’he is going to go somewhere else’.
“I have been around football all my life and it doesn’t happen.”
Redknapp’s men went on an 11-match unbeaten run to climb near the summit of the table towards the end of 2011, but the only team they have managed to beat in their last six games is Stevenage.
Spurs seem to have lost the killer instinct and flair that defined their performances at the end of last year, but Redknapp denies his team have lost their spark.
“It [the poor run] has not affected our confidence at all, not in any way, shape or form,” Redknapp added. “The players don’t sit in there and think, ‘We have to make the Champions League’. They want to play well in every game. They will come out and train this morning and be as bright as they could be.
“There are nine games to go, a lot of points to play for and there will be lots of twists and turns between now and the end of the season.”
Tottenham’s derby at Chelsea could have a big bearing on whether Redknapp’s team are playing Champions League football next season.
Despite the importance of the clash for both sets of fans, Redknapp admits the history will be lost on most of his players, as they have not grown up around football in the capital, unlike Chelsea stalwarts like Frank Lampard.
“If I said to Benoit [Assou-Ekotto] we have not won at Chelsea for 20 years, he wouldn’t have a clue.
“He probably doesn’t even know we are playing Chelsea tomorrow until we tell him later on,” Redknapp said.
“He won’t look at the fixtures.
“All players are like that now, most of them. We have got a lot of foreign players here now and they get on with it. The history of the clubs is probably lost on them in all honesty.
“I come from the East End, we knew about the Arsenals, the Chelseas — we knew all the players.
“I don’t think they do that now, not so much. And certainly the foreign players, they are not going to know.
“I think it’s a disadvantage. If I asked Frank Lampard he would tell you all about players. He has been brought up with it. His dad would talk about Bobby [Moore] and all them players. It’s rarer now I think.”
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