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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 17, 2011

Redknapp praises 'magnificent' Modric

Manager Harry Redknapp believes the impressive skills of Croatian midfielder Luka Modric are key to Tottenham challenging for the Premier League title.

• Spurs blog: Best of the Balkans

Modric turned in a superb performance in the goalless draw against Manchester United at White Hart Lane, when Tottenham proved that while they lie in fifth spot, just a point off the Champions League places, there is little to choose between them and the Premier League leaders.

Redknapp insists Modric, who signed for Tottenham in 2008 and has confounded critics who labelled him a "lightweight'', is one of football's brightest talents.

"We had the outstanding player on the pitch in Luka Modric,'' Redknapp said. "He was unbelievable. Magnificent. He's an amazing footballer, the little man takes the ball in the tightest areas with people around him, wriggling out of situations. He could play in any team in the world.

"You will play a tight ball in to Luka Modric with someone closing him but you might not play it to some other people for fear of losing the ball and then bang, it's in the back of your net.

"We believe we can hold our own with anybody. Tottenham is an improving team. We're in the top five all the time now. We're looking to get there and one day win a championship. That is the ambition of the club.''

Modric also insisted that Tottenham are on the same level as United. "Even though we haven't beaten them for " years, we showed that they are not better than us,'' Modric said. "It's a shame we didn't win but a draw is a good result. But there are still a lot of games between now and the end of the season and we need to try everything.

"I think we are still in the title race. In the last 14 games we have had only one defeat. That's excellent for us and we need to keep going. Everything is possible.''

Modric proved his worth against a United midfield which contained the guile of Ryan Giggs, playing his 600th league match for United, plus the combative talents of Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick.

The reason the match was goalless, however, had more to do with two central defences which stood rock solid. United's pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have won a Champions League trophy together. Tottenham's pairing of William Gallas and Michael Dawson is not as celebrated but they were just as effective.

Redknapp said: "Gallas has been fantastic for us, he has come and done a great job. He is good around the place, a good trainer. He's a top-class defender and he and Michael are in great form.''

Redknapp conceded he is unlikely to do much business in the January transfer window with one of his targets, Steven Pienaar, looking bound for Chelsea after Everton accepted an offer from the champions.

"I can't see us doing too much,'' Redknapp said. "We're not close to doing anything as far as I know. The chairman has a few names I've given him but unless it is someone who can make a difference to us as a team I doubt we will do too much, but we may do.

"I'm not going to say we won't because you never know. One or two want to leave. Robbie's (Keane) looking to leave and David Bentley's gone to Birmingham. There is room to bring in one or two into the squad but they have to be the right people.''

With Tottenham eight points adrift of United, who have a game in hand, Redknapp has accepted his side only have an "outsiders'' chance in the title race this season but he believes the battle for the Champions League spots will be tight right until the end.

Redknapp said: "It's open, there are still five teams scrapping to get into the top four. We are not a million miles behind the other teams. We have to believe we are not inferior to anyone."

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