Club Focus – Tottenham Hotspur – Spurs learn Champions League fate

Today, Tottenham Hotspur discovered the team they would have to overcome to qualify for this season’s Champions League. Tottenham faced the possibility of being drawn against FC Braga, Auxerre and Ukraine’s Dynamo Kiev. However, it will be Swiss league runners-up Young Boys, who will meet Spurs in the final qualifying round, after a shock 1-0 victory over Fenerbahce on Wednesday.

Harry Redknapp should be delighted with the draw, as the possibility of playing the likes of Dynamo Kiev would have made the task a whole lot harder. Redknapp must now prepare his team for the start of the Premier League season, where they meet Manchester City in their season opener. The Spurs manager will definitely have an eye on the tie with Young Boys, with the first leg in Bern, only a few days after the City game.

The Champions League will be a whole new experience for both Harry and his players. The prospect of Champions league Football should be something they cherish. Redknapp worked wonders in his previous job at Portsmouth by taking them to the UEFA Cup, which is now the Europa League. Clashes at Fratton Park against sides such as AC Milan were real highlights of the campaign, and if Spurs manage to overcome Young Boys, White Hart Lane will most definitely hold some memorable matches. The Pompey players played their souls out in what was a dream for many of the players to be playing in the UEFA Cup, which has somewhat lost its credibility in recent years. This is why the manager and his team must not slip up and waste what is a golden opportunity to qualify for this year’s Champions League.

Preparations have been going smoothly for the former West Ham boss, with many of the squad returning from World Cup duty in good shape. Redknapp will be delighted with the 45 minutes Ledley King managed to get under his belt in the 1-0 victory over Ipswich on Tuesday evening. Spurs’ success this season will depend on the fitness of players such as King, who featured more than expected last term. King played the last five games of season which played a key part in securing fourth place. Victories at home against Chelsea, Arsenal and the 1-0 triumph away at Manchester City in the penultimate game of the season all but sealed fourth spot. Jonathan Woodgate is still a huge concern for Spurs, with the defender looking set to miss the start of the season. The most worrying thing for Redknapp and the player himself is that Woodgate’s career is in huge doubt. It would be a terrible shame if Woodgate was unable to play any part of the season ahead, especially after missing the majority of last season. He has endured a career which has been plagued by injuries. One of the most naturally gifted centre-halfs this country has ever produced, due to the amount of injuries he has suffered he has never been able to cement a place in the national side. However, the emergence of Michael Dawson last season will settle Redknapp’s nerves, as will the presence of Sebastien Bassong.

With just over a week to go to the start of the season Redknapp has failed to bring in new players. There are still three weeks left of the transfer window with the manager most definitely pursuing a few players’ signatures. The 63-year-old spoke recently about the possible transfer of James Milner to Manchester City playing a key role in this summer’s transfer activity, which in his eyes, will open up the possibility of players departing City. As mentioned in the previous Spurs Club Focus, Redknapp is interested in adding Stephen Ireland and Craig Bellamy to his current playing squad. This looks very likely, but the two clubs valuation of both players is yet to be agreed.

Redknapp is still happy with the players he has at his disposal with many of them putting in good performances, in particular Gareth Bale and Mexican midfielder Giovani dos Santos. The two played a key part in Tottenham’s 1-0 victory over Benfica in the Eusebio Cup on Tuesday evening. The pair linked up superbly to score the one and only goal in the game. The two players are very young and after years of steady progress, they will both be looking to showcase their talents in what is a very important season for the Lilywhites.

At least for now, Spurs know who they must beat to reach the Champions League and Redknapp will most definitely be satisfied with the kindness of the draw.

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