Redknapp unruffled by Roeder remarks

November 25, 2006

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp was unconcerned about renewing rivalries with Glenn Roeder despite criticism by the current Magpies boss about his predecessor at West Ham five years ago.

Roeder was far from complimentary despite the squad he inherited from Redknapp at Upton Park in August 2001 containing Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, Paolo di Canio, Joe Cole, Fredi Kanoute, Glen Johnson and Stuart Pearce.

It was good enough to finish seventh in the Premiership in Roeder's first season even though relegation followed a year later.

Since then, the relationship between the pair has been decidedly cool and the pair meet tomorrow when Pompey visit St James' Park.

Redknapp said: 'I gave Glenn a job coaching at West Ham after meeting him in London when he was out of work.

'But he said a few things after I left and he's been known to do that hasn't he?

'I left him a fantastic squad, actually, but when they started losing games I suppose somebody had to cop it.

'I don't really want to get involved. It is old history and I don't think there are any real problems between us now.

'It wouldn't bother me if there were. It wouldn't make any difference to my life.

'But Glenn has another very good squad at Newcastle. They have spent a fortune up there and while they have done well in the UEFA Cup and the Carling Cup I can't believe they are so low in the table and I think they will finish much higher.'

Roeder's first game in charge last February was a 2-0 home win over Portsmouth and the Magpies claimed a 3-0 victory in the Carling Cup last month.

But despite progress in Europe and a hard-earned point at Arsenal last week, the manager's job is far from safe.

Redknapp said: 'It is when big money has been spent on a squad that a manager comes under real pressure. Glenn has obviously pinned his hopes on Obafemi Martins, who cost £10million, I believe.

'And for that price people are going to expect him to score goals. He can do it. I was interested in him myself until Inter put the the price up.

'He is quick and strong but if he doesn't finish up with 17 or 18 goals this season then he's had a bad season, hasn't he?

'I took Kanu on a free transfer when everybody said he was finished and he's scored eight goals already in 12 games. He has been fantastic for Portsmouth but I'm not trying to blow my own trumpet.

'We are not a Chelsea, an Arsenal or a Manchester United here but even if you can't win championships or get into Europe I believe you should play entertaining football.

'We have one or two managers in the Premiership who we don't know what they want to achieve with the way they play - but I think almost everybody who played for me would say they enjoyed it.'

Kanu is enjoying Fratton Park, the 30-year-old having spent time at Ajax - where he won the Champions League - Inter Milan and then Arsenal and this weekend celebrates 10 years since a heart-valve operation saved his career - and his life.

He said: 'It is a meaningful time for me because when I went to America for the surgery after the problem was discovered during my medical to join Inter, I was told I would never play football again.

'Many were very good to me. Inter's president paid for the operation and although I couldn't get into the team when I came back - mainly because of other injuries - I was very happy that Arsenal took a big gamble on me.

'I would still be there now if it was up to me but it was their decision to let me go and I didn't want to stay as just a substitute. I was not having that.

'But I have a good relationship with Arsene Wenger still and now I have another one with Harry Redknapp. He is different but he lets me live my life and play my own game and that makes me feel free.'

Kanu believes Pompey are capable of qualifying for the UEFA Cup this season, but Redknapp believes not even that will match his achievement last term when they retained their Barclays Premiership status.

'If we do that again this season we'll probably be in the Champions League,' he said, 'but I don't want us taking our feet off the gas and settling for what we've achieved.

'I've had a meeting with the players and said if people don't keep doing their jobs I will replace them.'