Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has praised the commitment of defender Ledley King after he played his first game for the club since October in the 2-0 victory over Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
In a game which could go a long way in deciding whether Spurs or Liverpool finish fifth in the Premier League and claim Europa League football next season, Redknapp showered King with plaudits.
“Ledley was amazing," Redknapp told reporters. "He hasn’t played for seven months”
“He came back yesterday morning. I asked him how he felt and he said ‘not great’ I spoke to him before the game [to see] if he could get through a game but he said ‘I don’t know, I’m scared that I’m going to break down again."
“I took a chance and thought that he might as well break down now instead of the first game back next season.”
The game was a big one for both sides and Redknapp was clear that a positive result was vital in ensuring this season’s European odyssey was not to be an isolated one.
“We had to win today to try to finish above Liverpool but it’s still all to play for in the last game," Redknapp continued.
"We’ve got a tough game with Birmingham who need a result now so it won’t be easy but we’ve given ourselves a chance now.”
The result puts Tottenham in the driving seat in terms of clinching fifth spot, that would mean Spurs would avoid the Fair Play League qualification route which would signal an earlier start to next season.
“I scared them before the game," Redknapp confessed. "I said if we don’t win today, we’re top of the Fair Play League which means we come back in two weeks time. We’d be back in June playing because we’re top of the Fair Play league unfortunately.”
In past weeks Redknapp has questioned the value of the Europa League due to its schedule and he told reporters playing on Thursdays and Sundays is not an ideal situation and he just wants his side to finish as high as possible.
“We’re not fighting for the Europa League, we’re just trying to finish as high as we can," Redknapp added.
"You want to win every game you can and if it means playing in that [Europa League] then we’ll play in it.
"It’s not ideal, playing on a Thursday night but we’re there. The Fair Play league has you playing three weeks earlier and that’s going to be a nightmare for somebody and I just hope it’s not us.
If Spurs are to confirm European football at White Hart lane next season they need to ensure another win when they face Birmingham City on the final day of the season.