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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug, 18, 2009

King happy to play without expectation

Ledley King is happy for Tottenham to let their football do the talking this season as Harry Redknapp's side quietly set about a challenge to break into the top four.

The emergence of big-spending Manchester City has seen the focus shifted on just which of the teams may make an assault on the Champions League places.

Spurs - who narrowly missed out on fourth spot under Martin Jol in 2005-06 - made their own statement with a 2-1 win over last season's runners-up Liverpool at White Hart Lane.

Manager Harry Redknapp feels he has now moulded a decent squad capable of improving on their previous campaign, which saw Spurs struggle at the start before eventually going on to reach the Carling Cup final and finish in the top half.

Centre-back King - passed fit to face the Reds, but who may have to sit out the midweek trip to Hull - sees no reason why Spurs should not aim high.

"It has been quiet here. There has not been too much talk about us and the top four,'' he said. "For the last few seasons everyone has been talking about us doing this and that.

"Now it has been nice to say nothing and just work hard. With the quality we have got, we can break into the top four.''

King, though, accepted: "We realise how tough it is after the last few seasons, but I think not being in Europe could help us. We have not talked about what we can achieve and we just want to take each game at a time and win as many games as possible.''

King, 28, has suffered from knee problems which prevent him from training regularly.

The defender - capped 19 times by England, but who had to withdraw after being called back up in March by new boss Fabio Capello - accepts he has to take things very much one match at a time.

"I would love to play on Wednesday, but I might have to look at the bigger picture,'' he said. "I could probably force it, but at the same time we have to be sensible.

"I have not had match preparation or even training, but I have been working and doing my own thing. Maybe I tried to do too much last season with the training.

"We have looked at it and obviously the games are more important. We have reduced the training and are now trying to get as many games in as possible.''

The defender, though, admitted it had not always been an easy time.

"It is difficult mentally. Doubts start to creep in and you start to wonder whether you have got the sharpness and the stamina,'' he said. "I have had to be strong and I have developed a new mental toughness and that seems to be working.''

Defender Sebastien Bassong scored what proved to be the winner on his debut.

With both Jonathan Woodgate (groin) and Michael Dawson (Achilles) sidelined, the £8m signing from Newcastle could find himself partnered by Vedran Corluka at the KC Stadium.

Midfielder Jermaine Jenas (calf) may return having missed out on Sunday.

Redknapp hinted he could look to further strengthen his squad before the window closes, having been linked with an £11m move for Celtic midfielder Scott Brown as well as Manchester City winger Martin Petrov and Sunderland's Kieran Richardson.

Summer signing Peter Crouch is pressing for a start after coming off the bench against his old club, with Robbie Keane missing a couple of good chances.

Redknapp said: "I have different players than maybe Tottenham fans have become used to over the last few years. We look a much better group of players now.

"[Wilson] Palacios is a Graham Roberts type of figure for us. He gives us something different in midfield and we need players like him here if we are going to be successful.

"I have four good strikers and I have real dilemma in picking the team.''

Redknapp added: "We can play at White Hart Lane, now we have to prove we can play away on a more consistent basis. It is going to be an open league this year. We just have to keep going and see where it takes us.''

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