TOTTENHAM boss Harry Redknapp expects his players to genuinely believe they can reach the Champions League if they can get results against Manchester United and Chelsea in their next two games.
Spurs have started the campaign with four consecutive Barclays Premier League victories and Redknapp has highlighted the difference in atmosphere and attitude since taking over 11 months ago.
Under Juande Ramos they were rock bottom at this stage of the season but this time around they have already beaten Liverpool and find themselves rated as outsiders for a top-four place.
“We’ve got to aim to try and do that (finish in the top four),” Redknapp said.
“It’s time for someone to do it. Aston Villa are looking strong with the signings they have made, Everton will be pushing and Manchester City look strong. But it’s possible for someone to do it and why not Spurs?
“A European place would be good, but a Champions League place would be even better.”
Redknapp feels there is a more professional atmosphere in his squad and facing United today and Chelsea a week on Sunday will be a true test of their credentials.
“I would take four points from the next two games,” he said. “We would all start believing if we did that but it’s two tough games.
“They’re two of the top four sides in Europe. But we’ve given everyone a game since I’ve been here, especially at home.”
Redknapp has addressed the issue of drinking among his squad since his arrival, which he feels is part of the overall changes in approach at the club.
“We’ve got good players and characters now and they’ve made a big difference in terms of playing and in terms of how professional they are, dedicating themselves to being top players,” he said.
“They’re playing with confidence and we’re building a good spirit, they are pulling together and winning is a good feeling.
“It’s nice to hear people saying nice things to you. They don’t want to go through what happened at the beginning of last season when people were saying bad things.
“The atmosphere is different when you are winning. The place is buzzing. When things aren’t going so well it’s obviously very different.
“It’s a nice place to be around at the moment. Competition for places is important as well, everyone knows they have to play well at the moment. There’s competition everywhere, at the back, on the wings and up front.”
One huge bonus for Redknapp has been the form of Aaron Lennon, who starred for England this week in the victory over Croatia that sealed a place at the World Cup. Redknapp is ready to unleash him on United.
“I’ve always encouraged him and told us to give him the ball,” Redknapp said. “He can tear people to pieces if he gets on the ball.
“His confidence is sky-high and he has given Patrice Evra tough times twice last year – not many people do that to Patrice Evra.
“He’s a terrific young talent, he’s learning the game and if he keeps his mind open and keeps working hard on different aspects of his game, he can be a top, top player.”
Now United have sold Cristiano Ronaldo, Lennon is the in-form right winger in the league.
Redknapp said: “Anyone would miss Cristiano Ronaldo but the money was fantastic and United have great players – Wayne Rooney is in great form, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are very strong. They will be bang up there again this season as they always are.”
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