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Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Wenger plays down Redknapp factor

Match: Arsenal v Tottenham Venue: Emirates Stadium Date: Wednesday, 29 October Kick-off: 2000 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live & text commentary on BBC Sport website

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Redknapp's first Tottenham press conference

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists Harry Redknapp's arrival as Tottenham manager will have little impact on Wednesday's north London derby.

"What is important is how well we will play - not who sits on the Spurs bench," said Wenger.

"In the longer term, he will change things for Spurs. But for this specific game, it is about how we play."

Redknapp, whose has a mediocre record against Arsenal as a manager, admitted: "It will be a tough task."

In 28 games against the Gunners with West Ham, Southampton and Portsmouth, Redknapp has guided his team to victory only twice.

"Going to the Emirates Stadium is always difficult and there will be a great atmosphere - but I was impressed with how we played on Sunday [when Spurs beat Bolton 2-0]," added Redknapp.

Wenger confident ahead of derby

"I was also impressed with the players in training who weren't even playing and if we can show our quality we will quickly move up the table."

Bottom-of-the-table Spurs face an in-form Arsenal side who have scored 15 goals in their last five games.

"We have put a run together and that has strengthened our belief," said Wenger, whose side are currently fourth in the Premier League table.

"We have come back into an interesting position in the league and we are highly convinced that it will be down to our strength [against Spurs] rather than anything else.

"If there is one game that is special for Tottenham, no matter who sits on the bench, it is Spurs against Arsenal. So I don't think that [a new manager] will change a lot.

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"We have a very strong united spirit in the dressing room."

With a significant gap between the clubs in terms of sustained recent success, Redknapp says his team cannot expect to make up the lost ground overnight.

"It is going to take time," he said. "They have moved away from us this season but with hard work it is a gap that can be closed.

"They are both major clubs and it is up to us to get Tottenham back to where they should be"

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see also
Arsenal v Tottenham
28 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Tottenham 2-0 Bolton
26 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Tottenham sack Ramos for Redknapp
26 Oct 08 |  Tottenham


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