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Mar 26, 2012

Redknapp confident of toppling Arsenal

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp remains certain that his side will finish above Arsenal in the Premier League this season, admitting that failing to qualify for the Champions League would 'hit him for six'.

• Players don't care if I'm boss - Harry

Spurs' European aspirations have been dented in recent weeks, with a poor run of results seeing their north London rivals overhaul them to move into third in the table.

After claiming a draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, Redknapp's side still enjoy a five-point lead over both the Blues and Newcastle in the race for the final Champions League spot, although the manager admits he is still desperate to finish above Arsenal.

Yet, having been on the fringes of title contention until recently, Redknapp concedes that failing to finish fourth would be a real blow.

"No, it's not out of reach, of course not," Redknapp said, when asked about pipping Arsenal to third. "I still think we'll finish above Arsenal - bring it on, Arsene!"

He then added: "The position we were in a month ago, we looked nailed on [to finish in the top four], didn't we? It would be a bigger blow if we don't make it, that's for sure. That would knock me for six."

Having reached the quarter-finals of the 2010/11 Champions League in their only appearance in the competition to date, Redknapp is eager to return to that stage once again - although he insists it is harder than ever to qualify, considering the level of competition at the top end of the Premier League.

"Man City are now established as a certainty, Man United are a certainty, Arsenal have been there every year, Chelsea, Liverpool are going to get stronger," he noted. "You'd have thought if you can make it this year, it's going to be even harder.

""I enjoyed it last year. It was new to me, it wasn't something that I've had. It's not been part of my life any more than it's been part of Tottenham's life. They've not been used to Champions League, so it wasn't suddenly: 'Oh my God, we've not got Champions League'.

He added: "If you want to do it again, you've got to improve. These top teams are going to keep improving.

"Chelsea are not going to stand still. They are going to go out and improve their team because the owner does that. Man City are going to improve, Man United, Arsenal are already making plans to bring new players in, Liverpool. It's getting tougher. There are six teams, really.

"That six are going to be there unless somebody buys one of the clubs. If they can get a Russian owner to buy Wigan who's got billions then they could win the league, couldn't they?

"That's how silly the game is."

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