Tottenham's Harry Redknapp: I'll cancel Christmas unless we keep up pressure at top of table
Published 23:00 03/12/09 By Darren Lewis
Harry Redknapp has warned his players to keep up their impressive Premier League form if they want to enjoy Christmas.
The White Hart Lane chief famously cancelled Christmas at Portsmouth after his Fratton Park team were given a stuffing by fierce rivals Southampton.
Now he's demanding his men keep their eye on the ball with a tough run of fixtures during December.
Spurs travel to Everton tomorrow, they then host Wolves next Saturday and Manchester City four days later. With Arsenal currently struggling to find goals and City currently on a run of seven Premier League draws, Redknapp feels his men must take advantage when their top-four rivals drop points.
If they don't, then they can forget about the mince pies and turkey. He said: "One year at Portsmouth we got beaten by Southampton so I cancelled the festivities. That didn't make me too popular, I can tell you.
"But we all care so passionately about the game and about Tottenham Hotspur football club that you just can't turn off.
"I could have the grandkids around for a Christmas meal, but deep down there's a chance I will be in a hump if results have gone badly. It's silly really, but that's how my Christmasses are every year - and I am not alone in that."
Redknapp has been charged with succeeding where predecessors Juande Ramos and Martin Jol failed by steering Spurs into the top four. As such, his celebrations over the festive period will be kept to a minimum both for him and his players.
He said: "It's hard. There are a lot of games but its a job that ends up affecting so many people's lives. So you do everything you can.
"This Christmas, for instance, we'll be training on Christrmas Day for our Boxing Day trip to Fulham. It becomes second nature and the whole festive period is about training and playing. So no different to any other time of the season."
Spurs sit third in the Premier League ahead of stuttering Arsenal who have now lost their last two Premier League games against Sunderland and Chelsea. Redknapp believes that, but for Jermain Defoe being suspended and both Luca Modric and Aaron Lennon being injured, things could have been even better for the north Londoners.
He added: "People point to the fact that we lost against Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. But you have to look closer. They are good players for us. You are talking about three top, top players and you can't be without them. You take Torres and Gerrard out of Liverpool's team and they are not the same side.
"You take Van Persie and a couple of other stars like Arshavin and Fabregas out of the Arsenal side and they start to look a lot more vulnerable."
Redknapp still feels that goals such as Arsenal's second - scored by Cesc Fabregas - in their 3-0 north London derby win highlight the need for his players to keep their concentration in order to ensure they do not throw away cheap points.
He went on: "Individual errors are still our biggest fault. At Arsenal the second goal we conceded was farcical. It's difficult to lift players from something like that because you just can't go in at half-time screaming and shouting. But we do have a tendency to sometimes switch off like that. And that's something we need to improve on."
Spurs are set to tie up the signing of highly-rated Brazil Under-20 midfielder Sandro within the next two weeks and Redknapp believes that will give his team even more leadership in the dressing room.
He said: "I feel it's still the case that we lack one or two players who can take situations by the scruff of the neck when things are not going right. Players who, when something is going against you, will stand there and say, 'OK, let's get to half-time and regroup.'