herald

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Parker points to past failures as top-four spur

Scott Parker is confident Tottenham can last the pace in the race for Champions League football.

Spurs were held to a goalless draw by QPR in Saturday's London derby at Loftus Road, dropping to fourth in the table after Chelsea crushed Stoke.

A record of seven wins in the last 10 matches has left Tottenham well positioned to tie down a top-four finish, and only their capacity to implode has cast doubt on whether they will achieve it.

Last season their title hopes expired when a damaging run of one victory in nine games left them in fourth, to be frozen out of the Champions League when Chelsea won the competition and earned a place as holders.

And in 2010-11 Tottenham slipped out of the top four with another poor sequence of results starting in February.

Parker believes the experience of going so close in the past can aid Tottenham this time, rather than lead to more disappointment.

He said: "It's in everyone's mind because it's happened before. We need to maintain our performances.

"We have some tough fixtures coming up but we've got some players coming back. I'm sure we'll be fine.

"We've lost some world-class players but we've added some too. Maybe we'll learn from the last two years and stay strong."

Manager Andre Villas-Boas has sought to avoid the all-too-familiar scenario from unfolding by rotating his squad, ensuring fresh legs in April and May.



Resilience

But at Loftus Road it was the organisation, resilience and spirit of QPR and not their own shortcomings that contributed to an afternoon of frustration masterminded by the manager they fired last June.

Harry Redknapp is known for motivational skills rather than tactical nous, but his side smothered Tottenham and were especially effective at containing wingers Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon.

Parker believes QPR have a fighting chance of escaping relegation with Redknapp at the helm.

"We wanted three points. QPR did their job and were set up very well," the 32-year-old said.

"They went to Stamford Bridge and won in their last league game and got a good point against a team like us.

"They've got every chance with Harry there and he'll probably turn things around. I think the world of Harry and he can have as big an impact as anyone."

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