HARRY REDKNAPP'S COLUMN - CHELSEA PROGRAMME - Thursday, December 22
It was a great win for us on Sunday against Sunderland. I always expected it to be a tough encounter against Martin O’Neill’s team but I was satisfied with the outcome.
It was tight at half-time, we found it difficult to create as many chances as we normally do. We stuck at it though and once we scored then we really pushed on and began to open them up.
Our full-backs offered us great width in the absence of our two wide men, who have been so threatening for us.
Jermain Defoe’s injury gave Roman Pavlyuchenko an opportunity and he came off the bench to show what he was capable of by popping up with a great finish to win the game for us.
It was an important win. You can’t afford too many slip-ups with the way things are shaping up in the Premier League with that top group of teams. You have to keep winning otherwise you could lose ground quickly.
We did ever so well against Shamrock Rovers last week. We couldn’t have done anymore on the night because it was always out of our hands but we did the job we had to do.
I was keen to stay in the Europa League and at half-time in Dublin I was hopeful that we would go through with Rubin Kazan losing and down to 10 men. Unfortunately, they ended up getting the point they needed to advance at our expense.
We have had some good results along the way in Europe this year and everything had been going to plan but it was a big upset losing at home to PAOK last month and that is probably what has cost us in the end.
The competition has been a great experience for some of the younger players at the Club. We have learnt a lot about them and many have done themselves nothing but good. I was delighted to see the likes of Jake Livermore and Tom Carroll recently rewarded for their efforts with new contracts. We will look to loan out some of our younger players in January now and I am sure they will do well.
This evening we welcome Chelsea to White Hart Lane and I’m sure it will be another great game.
Chelsea blew the title race wide open 10 days ago when they inflicted Manchester City’s first league defeat of the season.
Andre Villas-Boas might be young but he is clearly a good manager with a squad that contains an abundance of characters who can be relied upon and have been there and won it before.
From Man City down to Liverpool in sixth place, anyone in that group still has a decent chance of putting a run together and being in with a chance of winning the league. It is tight at the top this year and I believe that it will go all the way until the end of the season.
I would like to wish you all a happy and safe Christmas and I look forward to seeing everyone back at the Lane in 2012.