Tottenham v Manchester City: Why it’s a straight fight again

HARRY Redknapp believes that Tottenham and Manchester City will battle it out for the fourth and final Champions League spot again in the final months of the season.

Chelsea’s 3-1 win at Blackpool on Monday maintained the Blues’ recent revival and took them three points ahead of Spurs after 28 games each.

Redknapp maintains that he never saw Carlo Ancelotti’s side as realistic rivals in the battle for the top four, and the Lilywhites manager is predicting a re-run of last season’s fight with mega-rich Man City.

“I don’t ever see Chelsea not being in the top four, to be honest,” said the 63-year-old Spurs boss. “Before they got beaten at home by Liverpool, I could still see Chelsea winning the league.

“If they had beaten Liverpool that day they would have been in a great position to go on and win it. They’ve got it all to do now but Chelsea are a very very strong outfit.

“I don’t see them missing out on the top four, but I still think Tottenham could be in the top four. I think it rests between ourselves and Man City for who grabs that last spot.”

Tottenham are due to travel to Eastlands on Sunday April 17 in a replay of the fixture that clinched fourth place last season – and Redknapp concedes that the visit to Manchester could be just as pivotal this time around.

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However, the Lilywhites boss believes that there will be plenty of twists and turns before the end of the season, and refutes the suggestion than any upcoming games will ‘make or break’ their season.

“It could all come down to that game in Manchester, it could be that tight again. But you don’t know, you can have a run and it depends on who has a good run between now and the end of the season,” he said.

“We’ve both got lots of games – they’re involved in the FA Cup and the Europa League still.

“You can ask if these are ‘make or break’ games but we’ve been saying that all along. We said that when we had all those away games coming up – we went to Blackburn and Sunderland and won, so you can’t tell.

“You can lose a game and people say ‘oh that’s the end of them’, and then you win your next few games. In the race for the top four it can change every week.

“Losing a game isn’t going to suddenly put you out of the race for that. I wouldn’t suddenly pile pressure on us and say that the next few games are going to decide our season.”

The proof of the rollercoaster nature of the race for the top four could come next weekend, when Spurs host West Ham before Chelsea host Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham fans will expect a home win over Avram Grant’s Hammers, but Redknapp is already attemping to temper the expectation.

“I watched West Ham beat Liverpool the other day and they were really impressive,” he said. “I like the look of their team. They’ve got players back and a couple of new players in. It’s another tough game but there are no easy ones.”