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Premier League bosses set for Champions League showdown

Harry Redknapp
Redknapp is feeling cautiously optimistic about finishing fourth

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp says the race for fourth in the Premier League is too close to call but vows his side will fight for a Champions League spot.

Tottenham and Manchester City are level on 46 points, while Liverpool and Aston Villa are a point further back.

Spurs sank Wigan 3-0 on Sunday to move to fourth above City and Liverpool, who drew 0-0, while Villa beat Burnley 5-2.

"I'm not saying we'll finish fourth but we'll scrap away and we've got as good a chance as anyone," said Redknapp.

"It was a big day, lots of big games. We had to come to Wigan and grind it out a bit on a difficult pitch for both teams.

"We coped well, passed it so well in the first half. I felt we dominated play and were the better team."

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has already put his reputation on the line this season by guaranteeing his side will finish fourth.

But the Spaniard was in more philosophical mood after the Reds were held by rivals Manchester City at Eastlands.

606: DEBATE
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"I don't think the result is good for anyone. We both wanted to win and I have to think about the positives," he stated.

"I said before it would be a long race and we have to keep going to the end.

"Sometimes we will get three points and sometimes we will lose points but other teams have the same problem."

Benitez's opposite number Roberto Mancini seemed more satisfied with the outcome.

"It was important not to concede ground to Liverpool," added the City boss. "It was probably a better result for us than it was for Liverpool.

"We would like to have won but in the end I think the result was the right one."

Villa remain unbeaten in 2010 after their comprehensive victory against Burnley.

However, manager Martin O'Neill remained cautious over his team's chances of Champions League qualification, preferring to concentrate on the result against the Clarets.

"We started slowly. We didn't get into gear in the first half and were sluggish," he conceded.

"But in a game where expectations were high for us to win it, to come from behind was very pleasing."

In five out of the past six seasons, the top four places have been occupied by Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

But Liverpool are in real danger of dropping out this season, which could open the way for the likes of Tottenham, City and Villa to savour the Champions League.

However, there are bound to be many more twists and turns before the season is over - both Tottenham and Aston Villa have to visit City.

Spurs will also face Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in consecutive matches.

Liverpool and City will have to play two of the current top three in Manchester United and Chelsea, while Villa still have to travel to Chelsea.



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see also
Wigan 0-3 Tottenham
21 Feb 10 |  Premier League
Manchester City 0-0 Liverpool
21 Feb 10 |  Premier League
Aston Villa 5-2 Burnley
21 Feb 10 |  Premier League
Benitez settles for a point
21 Feb 10 |  Liverpool
Draw the right result - Mancini
21 Feb 10 |  Man City
Redknapp hails 'top class' Pavlyuchenko
21 Feb 10 |  Tottenham
Sunday football as it happened
21 Feb 10 |  Football
Benitez makes top four guarantee
15 Dec 09 |  Liverpool


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