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Conte culpable in uneven season

By ESPN Staff

Pompey's Stefanovic hails saviour Redknapp

Portsmouth captain Dejan Stefanovic has urged the man he rates as the greatest manager he has worked with not to walk out on the club for a second time.

After guiding Portsmouth to Barclays Premiership safety yesterday, Harry Redknapp's future at Fratton Park would appear to be secure, despite only signing a six-month deal upon his return in December.

Chairman Milan Mandaric sees it as 'a formality' Redknapp will stay on, although the man himself was more guarded when questioned about his future.

Stefanovic, for one, would be loathe to see Redknapp call it a day again after he infamously the club in November 2004 shortly before taking over the reins at Southampton.

Signed by Redknapp from Vitesse Arnhem in July 2003 for £1.9million, and after previously working with David Pleat, Ron Atkinson, Danny Wilson and Ronald Koeman, Stefanovic proclaimed: 'Harry is the best.

'It is because of him I signed for this club three years ago, and it would be unbelievable if he left again - I don't even want to think about it.

'I will be very disappointed if he leaves the club, but I'm sure he will stay because he is the main man for this club, the best manager I have played under.

'There have been some good ones, like Ronald Koeman, but Harry is totally different.

'He is a good man, an excellent manager, someone who gets everybody working for him, and because of that I am looking forward to next season.'

Redknapp's latest great escape saw Portsmouth take 20 points from their last nine matches, culminating in yesterday's 2-1 come-from-behind win at Wigan.

The result condemned Birmingham and West Brom to the Coca-Cola Championship, and Stefanovic added: 'What we have achieved is unbelievable.

'Nine games ago we only had 18 points, but we have survived with one match of the season remaining.

'We know we've had problems this season, in particular with the coaching staff, and with all the comings and goings.

'But Harry brought his players in, he sorted everything out, and it is because of him we have survived.'

Pompey's biggest hero proved to be Matt Taylor, who scored a decisive penalty as he did against Sunderland last week to secure the victory.

'It's the greatest moment of my career, without a shadow of doubt,' insisted Taylor.

'To achieve what we have over the last nine games, and to stay up with a game to spare is massive

'It's amazing. It's what we deserve, and the fans deserve. It's one of the best feelings I've ever had.'

Like Stefanovic, Taylor is also confident Redknapp will remain at the helm.

'When Harry returned there were people who raised their eyebrows, including a few of the fans, but he has won everybody over,' added Taylor.

'We always thought he would, and it was the best decision ever made by the chairman to bring him back.

'This would be a great time to bow out, but knowing Harry he won't do that. Hopefully he'll stay - I'm pretty sure he will - because we need him.'

Taylor feels Redknapp is the man who can rebuild the club again to ensure what has happened this season does not transpire again.

'We know we've had a lucky escape this season,' sighed Taylor.

'We certainly don't want to be in this position again this time next season, which means we have to make sure we apply ourselves better.

'I would imagine if Harry stays he will make a few additions to the squad, particularly with the backing we now have, which helps.

'If anybody wants to sign for this club, and I'm sure there will be people jumping at the chance, then our fans will play a part because they have been immense.

'Fingers crossed we can also hold on to people because those who have played this season have done their bit.

'To be honest, I don't want anything to change. Let's just keep it as it is because it has worked this year under Harry.'