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Page last updated at 08:55 GMT, Thursday, 26 August 2010 09:55 UK

Redknapp bullish over Spurs' Champions League hopes


Redknapp rules out spending spree

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp says his team will be a match for anyone in the Champions League group stages.

Spurs defeated Young Boys 4-0 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday to qualify for Europe's elite competition for the first time since the 1961-62 season.

Clashes with the likes of holders Inter Milan and Barcelona await but the Spurs boss insists he is not daunted.

"We'll take on anybody now," said Redknapp. "We're in the group stage and we'll give anyone a good game here."

A Peter Crouch hat-trick and a goal from Jermain Defoe delighted the Tottenham faithful as the north Londoners turned around a 3-2 deficit from the first leg to go through 6-3 on aggregate against the Swiss side from Bern.

The draw for the group stage takes place in Monaco at 1700 BST, with Spurs in the third pot of seeds, meaning they are almost certain to face an uphill task to reach the knockout stages.

"We are a good side with good players and it will be a great experience for us," added Redknapp, who said he would celebrate at home with a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich.

"It's fantastic. When I came here the dream was to get into the group stage and we've achieved that, so that is something to look forward to.

"I won't be pestering the chairman to go and spend his money because we've got some good players here already.

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"Unless there is someone who I think can improve the squad, I won't be pushing to spend any money."

Redknapp quit Portsmouth to take over at Spurs in October 2008. The team were bottom of the Premier League table after taking only two points from their first eight games.

The club recovered to finish eighth and the following year - in Redknapp's first full season in charge - they secured fourth place and entry into the Champions League qualifiers.

"I always felt it was possible," reflected Redknapp. "Tottenham were a club which had underachieved for a long time.

"The potential was here if we could get the players, and it is not as if I have bought a new team, it was just about instilling a bit of confidence, getting them playing and maybe changing their attitude in some cases. They responded and we have ended up where we have."

Former Spurs centre-half Graham Roberts paid tribute to Redknapp's achievements in transforming the fortunes of a team that was in freefall under Spanish boss Juande Ramos.

"To take Tottenham from bottom of the league to the Champions League in 20 months is out of this world," Roberts, who won two FA Cups and a Uefa Cup with Spurs in the early 1980s, told BBC Sport.

"Along with Sir Alex Ferguson we've got the best manager in British football and we don't want to lose him.

"I think he changed the mentality of the players. I went to the training ground when Ramos was in charge and saw that it was very difficult for him to get his message across.

"Harry puts his arms around people and treats players with respect. He's done it all his life and he knows how to get the best out of players."

In Tottenham's only previous European Cup campaign, a side managed by Bill Nicholson reached the semi-finals before losing to Benfica over two legs.

The following season, they became the first British club to win continental silverware by winning the Cup Winners' Cup.

"This is a club with European tradition, under the great Bill Nicholson," said Redknapp, who was a schoolboy on the books at Spurs at the time.

"I would not be in the same class as him, and never will be, but it is great for the club to be in this position now."

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see also
Tottenham face Inter Milan test
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
Tottenham 4-0 Y Boys (agg 6-3)
25 Aug 10 |  Europe
Spurs can win league, says Gallas
24 Aug 10 |  Tottenham
Spurs target Euro elite
16 Aug 10 |  Tottenham

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