LONDON: As if Harry Redknapp didn't have enough problems to deal with, the Tottenham manager has been forced to fend off criticism from one of his own players this week.
Vedran Corluka joined Bayer Leverkusen on loan in January and offered his own assessment of his parent club's recent decline when he claimed Redknapp's failure to rotate his squad could cost them a top four finish.
An alarming run of just one victory in nine league games has seen Spurs fall from third to fifth, with the possibility of them finding themselves in sixth position before they face Blackburn Rovers at White Hart Lane today.
With four games remaining, they need to recover form fast.
Redknapp, though, insists recent performances give him cause for optimism and dismisses Corluka's claims out of hand.
"Charlie (Corluka) is entitled to his opinion and I like him, but probably the problem is that I have rotated," he said.
"I have rarely had the same back four all season through injuries and everything else.
"Most of the players have probably played 30 games. I didn't play any of them (senior players) in the UEFA Cup, FA Cup, most of them didn't play until the later rounds.
"So the players have probably played on average 30 games this year which I don't think is a lot."
He added: "Look at (Chelsea's) Frank Lampard. He played 60 games and wants to play 80. Ask if if he wants a rest and he would not take one. He would not know what it was.
"No one has come to me and said 'give me a rest. I played 30 games this season I am tired. You are only paying me STG50,000 (RM250,000) a week. Can I have a rest, I have played 30 games'. No one has said that to me."
Redknapp expects to have Younes Kaboul and Emmanuel Adebayor back in the squad after injury.
Redknapp added: "We have just had a bad run of results. We have had one bad performance in the league -- against Norwich, apart from the cup game. In the league I thought we played OK.
"There are four games left. We are still bang in there. We are not down, despondent. We have four games to now try to finish in the top three, four that's what we have to try to do."
Blackburn's needs are even greater with Steve Kean's side locked in the final stages of a relegation battle.
The visit to face Tottenham is the first of two daunting away fixtures with a trip to Chelsea to come on the final day of the season and Kean admits his side must claim one victory on the road if they are to stay up.
The Rovers manager said: "We need to win two of the three games, so including one of those against Tottenham and Chelsea.
"It's a tough schedule on paper but at this time of the season form goes out of the window. It's just about performing on the day.
"We have gone to Old Trafford, Anfield and Goodison Park and got results this season so we know we can do the same at Tottenham and Chelsea."
With Blackburn's relegation rivals playing beforehand, Kean's side could have a clearer view of their prospects before kick-off.
He added: "It's a big weekend, and we will know the outcome of a lot of games before we play.
"Things could be sitting really good for us, it could be much the same or a little bit tougher." AFP