Harry Redknapp believes that now is the time for Tottenham Hotspur to become "top dogs" in London, an achievement that would see them above Chelsea and Arsenal and almost certainly guarantee them a Champions League berth.
The last occasion Spurs finished as the capital's best team was in May 1995.
Spurs host Arsenal on Sunday, and when Redknapp was asked if his side can achieve dominance, he said: "Yeah, but if I start saying we should be top dogs and God knows what and then they go and chin us on Sunday then everyone says: 'Serves him right for opening his big mouth.' We are getting better. But you need your best players.
"Man United without [Wayne] Rooney and one or two others, they are not as good. Arsenal without [Thomas] Vermaelen, [Jack] Wilshere and one or two others are the same. We are not as good if we haven't got one or two of our best players but that's football. I think when everybody is fit they [Arsenal] are a good side. They play fantastic football, but have had a bit of a blip, but it's nothing."
Tottenham are four points behind Chelsea and two ahead of Arsenal following three consecutive wins, with the signing of Scott Parker in the summer ahead of both London rivals strengthening their hopes of finishing above them.
Redknapp said that he believed at one stage Arsenal were favourites to sign the midfielder. "I thought maybe they would take Scotty," he said. "That was always my one concern. We wanted him and Arsenal were always the team and then Chelsea came in for [him] and I thought maybe he might go there, but I thought Arsenal might take him."
Redknapp said Parker's first choice was Spurs. "He is not going to move up north to wherever. I think Tottenham was the move he really wanted," he said.
The Spurs manager believes six clubs are battling for the four Champions League places and said the unrest at Manchester City may harm their chances. Carlos Tevez is suspended for a fortnight following his apparent refusal to come on as a substitute on Tuesday evening in the Champions League. Edin Dzeko also indicated dissent when being replaced against Bayern Munich, though he has since apologised.
"If we all perform as we should there are six teams pushing for the top-four spots. Man United are sure to be there. Chelsea I would imagine, too. Man City I'm not too sure now. When you have problems it can destabilise you a little bit and it is maybe a difficult little spell for them. [The Tevez affair] doesn't help and they have one or two [problems] there, haven't they? And the manager, who I like, though I don't know him that well, but it can't be an easy job for him at the moment."
Luka Modric remains at Tottenham despite requesting to leave during the summer and Redknapp claimed the Croatian would never behave like the Argentinian. "No. He is a top-class boy but I'm lucky here. Most of the lads are great lads, you ask them to come in and work hard," he said. "They get fantastic money and that's what they do. I'm lucky I have a great group of lads and they do that. Luka is such a fantastic boy and I said that all through [the episode.] You wouldn't meet a nicer boy than Luka."
Aaron Lennon is a doubt against Arsenal due a groin strain, but Redknapp is happy with the form of his players. "We've got good options," he said. "Obviously Jermain [Defoe] was injured last week [for the 2-1 win at Wigan] so Rafa [Van der Vaart] came back in and played off [Emmanuel] Adebayor and we played slightly differently. Luka played wide, Sandro played central with Parker, that was a good combination, two very strong players in there. So we have some good problems to have. Lots of good players."
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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