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Corluka bemoans bad start that spoiled top six challenge

PUBLISHED: 10:21 20 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:02 07 September 2010

DESPITE Sunday s impressive win over Aston Villa, Vedran Corluka feels Tottenham s season will be a failure in his eyes regardless where they end up. The 23-year-old Croatia full back arrived at the Lane from Manchester City, saying he had joined a club w

DESPITE Sunday's impressive win over Aston Villa, Vedran Corluka feels Tottenham's season will be a failure in his eyes regardless where they end up.

The 23-year-old Croatia full back arrived at the Lane from Manchester City, saying he had joined a club who had a better chance of a top-six finish.

But a relegation battle has since followed and a dismal start to the Premier League led to the sacking of Juande Ramos.

Since then, Harry Redknapp has taken over as manager and despite an improved showing in the league - and a Carling Cup final appearance against Manchester United at Wembley - Corluka is still not satisfied.

"We are not where we wanted to be," said Corluka. "Before the season people were saying we needed to be in the top six, everything we achieve this season is not success because we are not there.

"But we had a bad start to the season and, hopefully, we won't do that again. We were hoping to be in the top four or five teams. But after things went wrong at the start, the pressure was on the side and the manager.

"We didn't perform as players how we could do and a new manager came in and changed things."

Spurs may have eased their relegation worries with the 2-1 victory at Villa Park yet, they are still just six points clear of the drop zone.

And the Lilywhites face a tough run in the final nine games, including clashes against title-chasing Chelsea - on Saturday - defending champions Manchester United at Old Trafford next month and Liverpool on the last Sunday.

Yet, Corluka feels Spurs should be where Villa are - chasing a Champions League spot and not looking over their shoulders at the wrong end of the table.

"I would like us to be in the position that Villa are now," he said.

"But we don't have an argument to say that - we are in the position we are.

"We have to do something and then we can say we will stay there but we are far from there now. We just can't talk about targets."

Corluka, who made an instant impact when he came on as a first half substitute for Didier Zokora to mark Ashley Young at Villa Park, feels Spurs have to stay in the top flight to retain the status and profile of the club.

"We don't want the same thing to happen to us that happened at Leeds," he said. "They also had a great team but they were relegated. But we are confident we will stay in the league."

The win over Villa was also a major boost for Tottenham's bitter rivals Arsenal in the race for the fourth Champions League spot. But the defender said: "We don't think about things like that. We just think of ourselves and what we need to do."

Corluka is also looking forward to playing against England in the World Cup qualifiers at Wembley but feels Croatia will not top the group. I don't think we can overtake England in the World Cup group," he said. "That will be tough because England are playing better than before.

"We are hoping that we can do well at Wembley again, but England are the favourites."

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk

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