Skip to main content

News

  • Harrys programme notes
Subscribe to newsfeed 

Harry's programme notes

Posted on 19 April 2009  - 12:00

As part of our build-up to home matches, we publish Harry Redknapp's exclusive column from our official matchday programme.

Harry's programme notes

As part of our build-up to home matches, we publish Harry Redknapp's exclusive column from our official matchday programme.

For Jonathan Woodate's thoughts on West Ham and what else is in the programme - CLICK HERE...

DON'T MISS OUT - You can order programmes online by CLICKING HERE...

HARRY'S NOTES v NEWCASTLE UNITED, APRIL 19

It is great to be sitting here now with 41 league points and six fixtures still remaining.

When I first arrived, the aim, first and foremost, was to make sure we stayed up and I think last weekend's win could have clinched it. I didn't expect us to gather this many points so early to be honest. I thought it would go right down to the wire for us and for everyone.

That is a fantastic achievement when you consider our position in the table after the first eight games of the season. The players responded to that setback - their attitude has been first class, they have put a shift in for me every game and it was another outstanding performance against West Ham on Saturday.

We knew it was a good opportunity for us because West Ham had injuries to key players but London derbies are never easy. We had to be at our best because they always looked dangerous on the counter attack. They were looking to suck us in and hit us on the break, which they did well in the first 45 minutes. They certainly had a bit of pace about them.

I said at half-time that we could not afford to have both full-backs bombing on at the same time with two midfield players charging forward because we would be exposed when the opposition hit us on the break. We had to be patient and work balls into feet around the box instead of hanging crosses in there because that was where their centre-halves were at their best.

I had made up my mind to bring Roman Pavlyuchenko on in the second half because I felt he could turn the game for us. It was a tough decision because Darren Bent has been excellent for us lately and has worked hard. It is always difficult to change a team that has been in great form but I wanted to try something different and Roman showed what he was capable of. We got the ball into his feet, he spun and that is how we got the goal.

Harry's notes

I felt we were the better team in the second half and deserved the three points in the end. Luka Modric came off the line more and found space inside. Once he did it opened up the space for Benoit Assou-Ekotto to really get forward and that gave their right-back a real problem.

We also lost Jermaine Jenas at half-time with a hamstring problem but we were fortunate that Didier Zokora could slot in for him and he did a good job alongside Tom Huddlestone who I thought was excellent.

This afternoon we welcome Newcastle United to White Hart Lane. I thought it was a fantastic move to install Alan Shearer as manager until the end of the season. His appointment is on a par with that of Kevin Keegan's in my opinion.

If anyone can light up St James' Park for the remaining games of the season it is Alan. He has been one of the most magnificent players I have ever seen in the Premier League. He is a terrific character and knows the players he has got to work with. I thought he made a good move bringing in Iain Dowie to work alongside him.

I am certainly relieved we are now 11 points clear of the relegation zone because if we were sitting on 33 or 34 points then I would not be happy seeing him at Newcastle. I can see them making a real late push to stay up.

It is crazy to think, with the season we have had, that we are now only three points off seventh place and a possible European spot, but then the league has been like that all season.

We will give it our best shot to make seventh ours between now and the end of the campaign but I wouldn't want people ending the season disappointed if it did not happen - it was just two months ago that we were two points off the drop zone.

It has been a long hard year but we can start looking up rather than down now and we want to finish the season strongly.

Enjoy the game.