Redknapp puts final first

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Football News

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp insists trophies are more important than European football as he prepares to field a second-string team against Shakhtar Donetsk and rest all his outfield players for Wembley.

Only goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is expected to start in both the UEFA Cup clash against the Ukrainian champions on Thursday and the Carling Cup final against Manchester United on Sunday - and that is because Carlo Cudicini has picked up a knee injury.

"It's just about winning a trophy," he said. "If there was no Europe I wouldn't be bothered, that is what I said last season with Portsmouth."

Being rested for the last-32 tie against Shakhtar appears to be good news for David Bentley, who had provided one of the selection dilemmas for Redknapp as he looks to keep his players fresh for the United showpiece.

To emphasise his priorities, Redknapp is adamant that his side are playing United for the glory of winning a cup. Spurs trail 2-0 from the first leg in Donetsk but Redknapp simply cannot afford injuries while chasing the tie.

"I hear criticism after not putting my best team out against Shakhtar but Martin O'Neill has left nine out of his Aston Villa team to go to Moscow," Redknapp said.

"He has his priorities right because he wants to finish high in the Premier League. We want to stay in the Premier League so you have to prioritise. (Blackburn manager) Sam Allardyce picked half a team to face Coventry - people don't understand the job.

"Going back to Wembley is a big day for the club. You're playing against the best team in Europe."

He added: "Have we got a divine right to have European football? Should we put our best team out and forget about Sunday?

"Even if we were in the top half of the league, would we have a go?"

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

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Tottenham Hotspur
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Heurelho Gomes
Manchester United
Carlo Cudicini
David Bentley
Aston Villa
Coventry City

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