TOTTENHAM (1) vs NORWICH (2)
TOTTENHAM manager Harry Redknapp has all but conceded defeat in the battle for third place after their late-season slump deepened with a shock home defeat to Premier League surprise package Norwich.
Goals from Anthony Pilkington and Elliott Bennett, either side of Jermain Defoe’s equaliser, condemned Spurs to a fourth defeat in eight games – a run that has yielded just six points from a possible 24.
Having been a near-constant presence in the top three since late November, Tottenham are now two points adrift of rivals Arsenal, who have a game in hand, and Redknapp admits top four is his revised target.
“We have not been in bad form the last few weeks, but today was a setback. We had a bad day,” said Redknapp, whose side are only goal difference ahead of Newcastle.
“It is going to be close, but there are still five games to go. It’s the team who wants it most. We would settle for finishing fourth; Champions League football is the key. It would be lovely to finish above Arsenal, but that is going to be tough now.”
Norwich boss Paul Lambert, whose side climbed into the top half of the table, called it “the best performance in the three years I’ve been here”.
Lambert was less happy during the 90 minutes, after seeing his side denied two penalties despite strong claims – the first immediately before Defoe’s 33rd-minute strike.
Redknapp’s worries were worsened by an injury to defender Younes Kaboul, replaced at half-time by Ryan Nelsen, with Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea looming.