Harry Redknapp hails best Spurs Premier League season

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp says this season has been the club's best during the Premier League era after they sealed fifth place with a last-day win.

Spurs beat Birmingham 2-1 to qualify for the Europa League in a result that also relegates the Blues.

Last year, Tottenham finished fourth to qualify for the Champions League, but Redknapp feels they have bettered that.

"This season was better than last year. It's the best we have had since the Premier League started," he stated.

On top of their fifth-place finish, Tottenham made their debut in the Champions League this season, beating AC Milan and Inter Milan en route to the quarter-finals where they were beaten by Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid.

The men from White Hart Lane also recorded their first away win over north London rivals Arsenal in 17 years.

"It has been a fantastic season," Redknapp reflected. "To have got in the last eight of the Champions League and to have played in the great games we've played in - going to Milan, and Inter Milan, coming back against Young Boys from 3-0 down - has just been fabulous.

"Beating Inter Milan here was a great performance against a top team. Going to the Emirates and winning for the first time was also a big day for Spurs fans. People have got to realise how good the lads have done because they were fantastic.

"It has been an amazing season, we've played some great football and we'll all come back next year and give it another go."

Big-spending Manchester City have propelled themselves into the top four this season at Tottenham's expense and Redknapp admitted that competition to secure a place in Europe's premier club competition has intensified.

"It's getting harder to make the top four, for sure," he commented.

"We need to bring a couple of players in. I see Manchester United say they are going to make three big signings. Fergie [United boss Sir Alex Ferguson] doesn't make many mistakes, he's just won the league this year.

"We need to improve if we want to be challenging for European football next year."

Spurs confirmed their place in next season's Europa League courtesy of the win over Birmingham at White Hart Lane.

Redknapp was pleased to ensure they had qualified for the competition via a fifth-place finish and not through the Fair Play League, which would have meant them playing in the earlier qualifying rounds in June, thus disrupting pre-season.

"I didn't want to go into that Fair Play League, that's nonsense," Redknapp added. "It would have been a disaster for everybody, to have to come back and start playing in June. It would have killed the season before it started."

Tottenham's victory had dire consequences for opponents Birmingham, whose two-year stay in the Premier League ended as a result.

The Blues made Spurs work hard for their win, which was given to them courtesy of a brace from substitute striker Roman Pavlyuchenko either side of a Craig Gardner equaliser. Russian Pavlyuchenko's second goal came three minutes into injury time.

"It was an amazing finish to the game," Redknapp stated. "It is always diffucult when you're playing a team who are down there fighting against relegation.

"When Roger Johnson, the big centre-half, went up front, I wondered what they were doing. It was 1-1 and I thought that was enough to keep them up.

"I said to Alex, 'is a draw no good?' He said they needed to win because Wolves had scored and goals scored will do us.

"It is hard to break teams down, especially when they work hard. You need that bit of magic to unlock the door. We had that earlier in the season with Gareth Bale and Rafa [van der Vaart], both of whom were missing today. But it was a good win and a good performance."

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