Tottenham Hotspur Vs Newcastle United, Tue 28 Dec 2010

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Football News

Harry Redknapp has reiterated his belief that Tottenham are title contenders after hailing the feelgood factor within the club.

Redknapp first aired such a suggestion following a 3-2 victory over bitter rivals Arsenal five weeks ago and he did so again after the 2-1 victory at Aston Villa in which Spurs played for over an hour with 10 men in the wake of Jermain Defoe's dismissal.

Redknapp rightly recognises Tottenham are long shots as they stand fifth in the Barclays Premier League, seven points behind unbeaten Manchester United who have also played a game less.

But after witnessing the spirit and resilience of his players in the face of adversity at Villa Park, Redknapp feels it would be foolish to write off his side.

"I've not changed my mind," insisted Redknapp after being asked whether he maintained his view on his side's title aspirations.

He then immediately added: "But we are massive outsiders - 33-1 or whatever - and that's about right I suppose.

"I keep saying it's open this season, and it's not impossible. You have got to believe you can achieve something.

"It's there for someone to have a real crack at it this season as there is very little between the top five or six teams.

"We're playing as well as anybody, and we've people who could get in any team - (Gareth) Bale, (Luka) Modric, (Rafael) van der Vaart. We've some quality players throughout the team. We've a good squad.

"The main aim is obviously to get into that top four again, to get back into the Champions League.

"But if you have a good run, you don't know where it can take you. It's happened before."

Tottenham are currently on such a good run you have to go back to November 6 for their last defeat, since when they are unbeaten in their last nine matches, including seven in the league - four wins and three draws.

With games at home to Newcastle and Fulham on New Year's Day to come this week, there is every prospect of Spurs extending their unbeaten sequence to nine league matches.

Redknapp certainly feels he has the squad of players and the club behind him to push United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City all the way for the remainder of the season.

"We've the spirit, of course we have. If you saw us training on Christmas Day there was a good atmosphere," said Redknapp.

"There's a good feeling about this club, and that's important I think.

"It's as important at times as when you've a good spirit amongst the players and they're all together, and with a bit of belief it's amazing what you can achieve.

"Let's be honest, there's also no shortage of ability."

For the visit of the Magpies, Redknapp is without Defoe, who starts a three-match suspension after receiving a straight red card for an elbow in the face of Villa captain James Collins.

Modric should figure despite limping off with cramp late on while Redknapp has confirmed Gallas will return against Fulham after being out for three weeks with a hamstring injury.

Steven Taylor is convinced he can fulfil his ambitions with Newcastle after finally signing a new five-and-a-half-year contract.

The 24-year-old central defender looked to heading out of the club he supported as a schoolboy when he was transfer-listed after failing to agree a new deal.

But with new boss Alan Pardew as keen to retain the services of one of the Magpies' most promising Academy graduates as his predecessor Chris Hughton had been, a compromise has been reached.

Taylor said: "I am absolutely delighted to have agreed terms with the club on a new long-term contract that will see me play for Newcastle United in my prime years.

"I joined the club as a boy and feel confident that I can fulfil all my professional ambitions here at my home-town club.

"Throughout the past few months, I have never lost hope that everything could be sorted and that I could stay here and play for this fantastic football club.

"I would like to thank the fans for their support throughout the contract negotiations and I'll look to repay them with my performances in the black and white shirt.

"Also [I would like to thank former boss] Chris Hughton for bringing me back into the team, Alan Pardew who made it clear from day one that he wanted me to stay at the club, the board and management for their willingness to work together to find an agreement and finally my agent Paul Stretford for always having my best interests at heart."

Skipper Kevin Nolan is suspended after collecting his fifth booking of the season, while Shola Ameobi is likely to miss out with a hamstring injury once again.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League
Newcastle United

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