London – Andre Villas-Boas believes knowledge of Tottenham Hotspur's key players gives Harry Redknapp an advantage in his first clash against his old club since leaving White Hart Lane.
Redknapp twice finished in the top four of the Premier League during his three-and-a-half seasons at Spurs and the likes of Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon were key members of the team.
But he will be looking to get the better of them in Saturday's London derby at Loftus Road when his bottom of the table Queens Park Rangers team look for another win in their bid for Premier League survival.
“It's a big advantage. In the end when you manage a club you know your football players very well,” said Tottenham manager Villas-Boas when asked Redknapp's understanding of the Spurs squad.
“You get to know them, you get to know their qualities and I think Harry can take advantage of that.
“They have done things together, he knows what makes them tick and what they are not so good at.”
QPR stunned Chelsea with a 1-0 win over the European champions in their last Premier League game and another victory will bolster their once seemingly all but non-existent survival hopes.
“Obviously everything has changed recently for him (Redknapp) in the fact that he has gone to QPR, the fact that he won against Chelsea and that is such an important boost of confidence,” Portuguese manager Villas-Boas explained.
But Tottenham are motivated by knowing they will be within three points of champions Manchester City, for at least a day, if they win.
With Arsenal playing City on Sunday, it gives Spurs Ä who will kick-off six points adrift of the top two Ä the chance to close in on leaders Manchester United, at home to Liverpool on Sunday, and the title holders.
“We approach the game on a good run of form too, full of confidence and wanting to profit from a weekend when the top teams meet each other,” said Villas-Boas.
“We take it very seriously this weekend if we want to continue our progress.”
William Gallas has been ruled out of the QPR game through injury but Togo forward Emmanuel Adebayor is available before heading to South Africa for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Villas-Boas insisted he was not looking for a striker during the January transfer window, saying: “We've been pretty happy with the team and what we have available, with the options that we have.
“To be fair it's not that great amount of time that we lose Adebayor.”
QPR are looking to recruit players and have had a bid for West Brom centre-back Jonas Olsson rejected, but Tal Ben Haim can play in defence against Spurs after arriving as a free agent.
“The team has great players and an excellent manager so I believe we can stay up,” said Ben Haim, who played under Redknapp at Portsmouth.
Ben Haim, who made his QPR debut against West Brom in a drawn FA Cup tie, added: “It's great to be back and my first game after so long was not easy. After one or two more games, I think I'll be playing better.
“I worked hard during the months I was out of the game and kept myself fit, but I always believed in myself and waited for my chance.” – Sapa-AFP