This is it. It has taken Tottenham Hotspur 48 years to return to the highest level of European football. Two games are all that stands in the way of Harry Redknapp and his players reaching the Champions League group stage. Managers have come and gone at White Hart Lane, all failing to provide that illustrious top four finish. Martin Jol could only manage fifth place for two successive seasons, Juande Ramos could only muster 11th place but he did win the League Cup. Redknapp saved the club from relegation in 2009 and miraculously ousting free spending Manchester City to fourth place. Whichever way you cut it or perceive Spurs recent success – it all comes down to the two qualifiers tonight, and next week. £30m is guaranteed for the winner and the chance to play against some of the best players in the world is also on offer. It is time for Tottenham to deliver.
In recent days, Redknapp has played down fears of a possible upset at the hands of Swiss league side Young Boys, claiming his side are more than ready for the occasion. “People’s expectations get very high but I don’t think about not qualifying,” he said. “It’ll be a difficult game, but we’re a good team and I’ve got great belief in the team.” Any away fixture in Europe is always going to be tough and the task is going to be made a lot harder due to the artificial pitch at the Stade de Suisse. Redknapp’s players have trained on the plastic pitch ahead of tonight’s fixture and the Spurs manager is that worried about the surface he even contacted a Premier League manager for advice. “I spoke to Roy Hodgson (who has managed Neuch