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Football | Premier League

Harry confident of keeping key players

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp is confident of keeping his exciting squad together even if the team slip up against Fulham on Sunday and finish the Premier League season out of the Champions League places.

Asked if Tottenham's best players would want to leave if that happened, Redknapp told reporters on Friday: "Champions League football gets over-hyped a bit.

"At the end of the day, if you pay players good wages and get them a good contract they are happy."

He also dismissed a story in the Spanish sports newspaper Marca that Spurs had agreed a 40-million-euro fee with Barcelona for midfielder Gareth Bale.

"I wouldn't think there's the slightest bit of truth in that. Not a chance I wouldn't have thought," Redknapp said at the club's training ground.

"You have got to keep our best players because if you don't, where are you going? You can't be selling your best players."

Tottenham, fourth in the table, could finish third and return to the Champions League after a year's absence if they beat Fulham and Arsenal, a point above them, fail to win against West Bromwich Albion.

Fifth-placed Newcastle United, who are one point behind Spurs, could also clinch a top-three finish and are away to Everton.

"If we win we are definitely going to finish fourth so we have just got to try to win a difficult game," Redknapp said of the match which will be a return to White Hart Lane for Fulham boss Martin Jol, who managed Spurs between 2004 and 2007.

"If we finish third it would be great but if we finish fourth it would still be a great achievement."

As long as Chelsea do not beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final next week, that would put Spurs into the preliminary round for next season's competition.

Asked if he would be the world's biggest Bayern Munich supporter if Spurs did finish fourth Redknapp replied: "If we finish third I will be an even bigger Chelsea fan."

Spurs have a problem at left back with first choice Benoit Assou-Ekotto injured and his stand-in Danny Rose suspended after being sent off at Aston Villa last Sunday.

Bale could be moved from left midfield to fill in at fullback. Scott Parker is still struggling with the Achilles problem that has seen him miss the last three games although he was on the bench for the 1-1 draw at Villa Park.


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