Spurs boss desperate to avoid ‘nightmare’ of Europa League

Harry Redknapp admits that he has little respect for the Europa League, pointing out that rival managers consistently field reserve teams in Europe’s second competition.

HARRY Redknapp admits he would be dismayed to find himself managing in the Europa League next season, branding the continent’s second competition a nuisance and a nightmare.

Tottenham have enjoyed a dream start to their first Champions League campaign and are on course for a place in the last 16.

However, the Lilywhites are struggling in the Premier League and, should they lose the race for the top four, could find themselves in the Europa League.

This new rebranded version of the Uefa Cup is supposedly a closer relation to the Champions League – but Redknapp is scathing in his assessment.

“No it’s not, I’ve got to be honest,” he said. “The managers are getting in the Europa League and then every game you see they’re all putting their reserve teams out. You can imagine them all saying ‘Thursday night? What a bleeding nuisance this is.’

“Even Liverpool last week, they made seven or eight changes. Fulham went for it last season – Roy [Hodgson] went for it, he put a good team out in every game – but most teams don’t. City made nine changes last week. It’s a nightmare isn’t it.

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“It’s not the Champions League – that’s the competition you’ve got to want to be in if you can, so we’ve really got to try to finish again in the top four if we can, which is a difficult task.

“The league is even stronger than last year because Man City have improved that much again. Look at the players you’ve brought in.”

Should Spurs miss out on the top four they could win a Champions League place by winning this year’s competition, but Redknapp concedes that is very unlikely.

“You look at the quality of the teams that are in it – even the English teams that are in it. Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal all look strong, and that’s without Real Madrid and Barcelona, who for me would probably be the favourites this year,” he said.

“It’s a tough competition and we’re not out of the group yet. We’ve got it all to do. We’ve got two tough games.

“Werder Bremen at home will be a tough game and Twente are playing fantastically at the moment. They’re top of their league, they went away to Germany and won 2-0 last week so we’ve got two tough games to come. It’s all to play for.

“It’s wide open still, it can all change. We’ll focus on the Champions League again when that comes around but for now we’ve got to concentrate on league football.”