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The Spurs boss believes the enforced half-time withdrawal of the Dutchman undermined his side’s chances, but says a draw was ultimately the fairest result

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp believes the half-time loss of Rafael van der Vaart played a key role in his side’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at White Hart Lane on Monday evening.

Spurs dominated the early exchanges but lost the Dutchman to a hamstring injury at the break, and the enforced tactical re-shuffle which followed enabled a resurgent Blues side to take control of the midfield battle in the second half of the Premier League clash.

The match saw numerous missed chances and some dazzling saves, but Redknapp feels the forced withdrawal of Van der Vaart was the decisive moment.

“We started the game way on top,” the Spurs boss told reporters on Thursday. “The first 20 minutes or so were really one-sided. We completely outplayed them and scored the goal.

“Then when they scored, they came back and got a bit stronger and the second half was difficult for us.

“We had to change how we play. Rafa did his hamstring again, and we had no-one who is comfortable playing on the right hand side.

“I put Luka [Modric] on the right and brought Pav [Roman Pavlyuchenko] on, but they had the extra man in midfield in the second half, so they had more possession than us.

"There were chances, some great chances at the end but certainly a point is a fair result."

Neither Tottenham nor Chelsea will be entirely satisfied with the result, which leaves them nine and 11 points respectively behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Redknapp admits that City, along with Manchester United, are favourites in the title race, but insists there is plenty of time for the chasing pack to close the gap.

“Man City and Man United have to be red hot favourites, as they were at the start,” he added.

“You look at their results yesterday – United’s result at Fulham was incredible. I wouldn’t write them off.

“City have had a great start as well. Having lost our first two games, 35 points is an incredible tally for us, so we’re going great.

“Liverpool will be there too, as will Arsenal and Chelsea, so it’s going to be tight.”

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