Harry Redknapp feels playing in next season's Europa League will severely hamper Tottenham's chances of making it into the Champions League the following year.

Spurs have enjoyed a glorious debut season in the Champions League this term, but it now looks likely that they will miss out on dining at Europe's top table next year.

Last weekend's defeat at Chelsea saw Redknapp's team slip to sixth and they could be 10 points behind fourth-place Manchester City by the time they face Blackpool at White Hart Lane.

With four matches of the season remaining, it appears the best that Tottenham can hope for is to overcome tricky games at Liverpool and City to beat Kenny Dalglish's team to fifth.

That would mean earning a place in the Europa League - a competition that Redknapp has never hidden his dislike of.

 
                         
 

 

The Spurs boss watched City play 12 games in the competition this year, hoping they would stay in it so Spurs could capitalise on the distraction and fatigue that playing in such a tournament brings, and pip them to fourth.

Redknapp knows his team would have to play 17 times to make the Europa League final and concedes that would have a huge impact on his long-term goal of bringing Champions League football to White Hart Lane on a regular basis.

"Teams who get into the Europa League want to get out of it," Redknapp said. "Half of them put reserve teams out in the early stages and it's difficult to play every Thursday and Sunday. It disrupts things.

"We didn't have European football last year and we finished fourth. That was a big advantage to us.

"If there are teams around you in the Europa League, you want to keep them in it. If we were in it next year, and you were one of the other clubs around us, you'd want us to stay in that competition because it takes its toll.

"I wanted Man City to stay in it this year because they were playing every Thursday night, slipping off to Azerbaijan to play a team out there. It's unreal, but that's how that competition is."

Spurs will be without Tom Huddlestone and Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Huddlestone's ankle problem is still troubling him and Assou-Ekotto has a hamstring complaint, while Vedran Corluka is also unlikely to play after picking up a hamstring injury in last week's defeat to Chelsea.

Jonathan Woodgate (calf), Ledley King (groin), Wilson Palacios and Alan Hutton (both knee) are all unavailable.

Meanwhile, Blackpool boss Ian Holloway has urged out-of-sorts club captain Charlie Adam to keep things simple over the remaining weeks of the season.

Adam has been one of the Seasiders' star performers in their maiden Barclays Premier League campaign and was among the shortlisted nominees for the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award won by Tottenham's Gareth Bale last month.

However, the Scotland midfielder admitted recently that his form has taken a dip of late, and Holloway is advising Adam to focus less on elaborate cross-field balls and efforts on goal and more on getting the basics right as Blackpool go into the final three games of their relegation battle.

"He's that important to us that if he plays well, we play well," Holloway said.

"But luckily some of the lads, particularly in the last two games, have raised their level and made up for him not being quite up to his normal level.

"It will always be difficult for Charlie to be able to play to his level and stand out.

"What he has got to do is make sure he plays simply, quickly, nicely and neatly, and forgets all these shots from the halfway line because that is not really going to help anybody when you are not on form. That's not the way to get back in the game.

"We have spoken about it and I've put on some training this week for him and the rest of them to get it into their minds what is important.

"For 75% of the time you should be playing it nice and simple to your team-mates and 25% of the time you should be looking for a long diagonal if one is on.

"At the moment I would suggest that he is getting that balance slightly wrong."

Holloway has no new injury concerns.

James Beattie has recovered from the illness that kept him out of the goalless draw with Stoke last weekend, meaning Holloway should have a virtually full squad to choose from for the game at White Hart Lane.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Football
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