MANCHESTER CITY vs TOTTENHAM
Sky Sports 2, tonight, ko 8pm
TOTTENHAM manager Harry Redknapp insists the burden of expectation rests on Manchester City, not his own charges, as he prepares to take a tilt at history tonight.
Victory at Eastlands over their fourth-place rivals would guarantee Spurs a place in the Champions League – an achievement that has long been coveted at White Hart Lane but never achieved.
City could yet deny them, however, and three points for Roberto Mancini’s outfit this evening would put them back in control ahead of Sunday’s final round of Premier League fixtures.
Spurs might struggle to recover from the impact of a defeat at this stage in the race, but Redknapp believes his opponents, who have spent so extravagantly in the pursuit of Champions League football, have most to prove.
“There is no pressure on us,” he said. “At the start of the year we all felt that if anyone was going to break into the top four then realistically it was going to be Manchester City.
“I think they will win the championship in three or four years. It is a powerful outfit with the owners they have got now. At the start of the season we would have been delighted with being in the top seven, so to have a chance of making the Champions League is great for us.”
The lavish spending sanctioned by City’s Arab owners has attracted some big names, not least Mancini, who won three league titles at Inter Milan.
But with stars has come impatience in the pursuit of the Champions League – a competition with which City are also unacquainted.
Uncertainty lingers over the Italian’s future, whether he achieves his mission or not, although he is doing his best to project nonchalance.
“There is no pressure,” Mancini said yesterday. “It is a football match not a war. If you are not happy where you work I don’t think you stay. I am happy because I want to build a good team here.
“Being in the Champions League would allow us to progress. It is important for the club and everyone here. But we must not be nervous and I don’t think the players are. They are all concentrated.”