HARRY Redknapp insists he does not want Roman Pavlyuchenko to leave Tottenham in January after watching the Russian fire his team to victory over Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham failed to test Sunderland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood in a dull first half, but they sprung to life just after the hour when substitute Pavlyuchenko latched on to Rafael van der Vaart’s reverse pass and fired home a powerful low drive.
It was an exquisite finish from the 30-year-old, but he would not have even been on the pitch had it not been for the suspected hamstring tear which caused Aaron Lennon to be brought off in the first half.
Indeed, the striker may not have been in the Spurs matchday squad had Jermain Defoe not been ruled out prior to kick-off with a hamstring problem.
Pavlyuchenko has voiced his desire to leave White Hart Lane on a number of occasions this season after the arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor and the form of Rafael van der Vaart saw him drop down the pecking order at the north London club.
Redknapp admits he may struggle to keep Pavlyuchenko happy, but insists he will try to hang on to the Russian if he can.
“He’s a fantastic player. He’s got real talent. He’s got great ability, I think. He’s got a good left foot, a good right foot and is a great finisher,” Redknapp said.
“He’s top drawer but he’s just been unlucky. He didn’t start the season great. He hasn’t really shown the form that he’s capable of so he’s slipped down the pecking order a bit.
“It’s difficult. Some people are going to be upset they’re not in the team.
“Today I lost a wide man but I thought I’d change it and if you want someone to score he’s always likely to. I want to keep all four (strikers). You need them all.”
n Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish celebrated his first league win as a manager at Aston Villa as first-half goals from Craig Bellamy and Martin Skrtel ensured a comfortable 2-0 victory at Villa Park.
Bellamy and Skrtel struck inside the first 15 minutes to seal the Reds’ fifth away win in the Barclays Premier League this season.
But the star of the show was striker Luis Suarez who tormented the Villa defence and hit the bar and the post.
Manchester United cruised to a 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers but David Silva sent Manchester City back to the top of the table with the only goal in a pulsating clash with Arsenal. The Spaniard slid in his sixth goal of the season after 53 minutes at the Etihad Stadium to finally give City reward for some brilliant attacking play.