Belfast Telegraph

Don't bet against Spurs - Hodgson

West Brom manager Roy Hodgson hailed Tottenham as serious Barclays Premier League title contenders after watching the Londoners close the gap on second-placed Manchester United with a 1-0 win over the Baggies at White Hart Lane.

Spurs moved within three points of United after Jermain Defoe's 63rd-minute strike on Tuesday evening, and their chances of breaking into the top two will be boosted if the Red Devils fail to overcome Newcastle on Wednesday night as Harry Redknapp's men have a game in hand.

"They are serious contenders. They have proven that already," Hodgson said. "There is no question about that. They win their matches. They keep putting pressure on Manchester City and Manchester United to win their matches and they are getting some distance between themselves and the chasing pack so they have to be very happy with their first 19 games."

He added: "If they win their game in hand then it will all be a question of seeing which of the three or four teams will have the best last 18 games. The quality is there, the depth of squad is. It's a well-organised club and team. I wouldn't bet against them."

Spurs were outsiders to book a place in the top four, yet alone challenge for the title earlier this season when they began their campaign with two hidings from the Manchester clubs. A run of one defeat in their next 17 matches has followed, however, leaving Redknapp extremely happy with his team's display in the first half of the season.

"I don't know if we played like a title-winning team, but you are not going to rip teams apart every week," Redknapp said.

"If someone had told me at the start of the season that we'd be where we are now after 19 games, I would have said 'fantastic'.

"It has been a great first half for us. Getting through the first half of the year and being where we are in the league is amazing considering we lost the first two games.

"It has took some doing really. It's great. We are there or thereabouts. Nothing is impossible.

"We have a lot to look forward to in the second half of the season."


From Belfast Telegraph