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By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Harry Redknapp says the player power in Chelsea’s dressing room is one of the key reasons why they are such formidable opponents.
And the Tottenham manager believes that John Terry and Frank Lampard are Blues bosses in the making as he eyes Saturday’s trip to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s senior players are thought to be largely responsible for Andre Villas-Boas’ exit, as leaders in the dressing room disagreed with their 34-year-old manager’s methods.
That view was reinforced by footage of Terry shouting instructions from the bench during last week’s Champions League victory over Napoli.
But, as Chelsea revive their fortunes under caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo, Redknapp believes that the Blues are fortunate to have such powerful personalities in their squad.
“Chelsea have got strong characters, they’ve got leaders on the pitch,” said the Tottenham manager. “Di Matteo is a good manager, he did well at West Brom and there’s nothing to say he can’t do a great job there [at Stamford Bridge].
“They’ve got good players, they’ve got leaders, characters, winners. They’ve been there and done it. When you cross that white line that’s what you need, and that’s what they’ve got.
“They’ve got strong people like Drogba, Lampard, Terry and Ashley Cole. I looked at them the other night against Napoli and they’re a powerful team. Look at Michael Essien, and Ivanovic – he’s a powerhouse. They’re a strong outfit.
“Is Terry a manager in the making? Without a doubt, yes. I would think one day he could manage Chelsea, I would think there’s every chance. Lampard could do it as well if he wants to, for sure. It wouldn’t be a problem for either of them.
“They know the game, you could certainly see them being managers. It just depends what they want to do with their lives, whether they want to stay in football.
“There aren’t many John Terrys around. When it comes to playing, I’d put John Terry as the nearest thing to Tony Adams – organising a team, being a leader on the pitch.
“He was out for two weeks with that knee injury when he was supposed to be out for eight weeks. It’s unreal and that tells you everything you need to know about him.
“He was throwing himself in the other night against Napoli, getting blocks in and scoring a goal. He’s amazing.”
Spurs and Chelsea are likely to have a big say in each other’s fortunes this season, with their battle for Champions League qualification being combined with a possible FA Cup semi-final clash.
Tottenham will face Di Matteo’s side at Wembley next month if they progress past Bolton in the rearranged quarter-final - and Redknapp believes that Spurs are set for a strong end to the season in both competitions.
“Finishing in the top four and getting into the Champions League is all-important, and it’s going to be tight,” he said. “Chelsea are good, that’s a powerful team again.
“Am I more worried about them than Arsenal? Not really, they’re both bang there, both strong sides who were both red-hot favourites to finish in front of Tottenham at the start of the year.
“I think someone said we were 12/1 to be the top London club – which sounds like a big price to me. They’re both dangerous but so are we, we’ve got good players as well.
“We’re in a great position and I think we can have a great end to the season as well. We’ve got so much to look forward to.”
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