City tell Spurs: Money irrelevant in title quest

Manchester City welcomed Tottenham Hotspur to the Premier League title race party on Friday but warned them their manager's pride at making the breakthrough on a smaller budget was misplaced.

The North London club's manager Harry Redknapp has revelled in his side's rise to third spot, level on points with second-placed Manchester United and three points behind City, despite lacking the financial muscle of the leaders.

City, who have spent more than 600 million pounds on players since their 2008 takeover by Sheikh Mansour, played down the importance of cash and batted away Redknapp's implied criticism of the way they have gone about their business.

"You don't get a trophy for spending or not spending money, you get a trophy for being top of the pile," City assistant coach David Platt told a news conference.

"Harry's got a right to be proud of what he's achieved... I don't know whether the money comes into it, I think it's irrelevant. He should still be proud if he finishes second and he's a point behind us."

Redknapp, whose side would draw level with City if they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday as the leaders do not play until Monday, is pleased at the way Spurs have built a team without spending eye-watering sums.

"City are where they are because of Sheikh Mansour and Chelsea thanks to Roman Abramovich," local media quoted him as saying.

"We have not done it that way and it makes me proud. You don't have to go out and spend fortunes to find good players.

"Spurs are not third in the Premier League because someone has walked through the door at White Hart Lane and slapped a bundle of money on my desk."

Spurs travel to Manchester City next weekend for a high-profile encounter in the limelight that the north London side have so far avoided in a low-key campaign.

While the media furore has centred on the two Manchester clubs, Tottenham's 2-0 win over Everton on Wednesday put them firmly in the title frame.

"For me Tottenham have been at party for a long time... I'm glad everyone else is seeing they are at the party as well," Platt said.

"They've had a tremendous season, they've got 18 games left, like us and Manchester United where they can amass enough points to win the league. They are genuine title contenders and it's good that they are there now and everybody is aware of them."

The fact that Manchester United are facing a challenge from different clubs to recent seasons, when the battle has been mainly with Chelsea and Arsenal, has been welcomed by manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I said it two or three years back - there was definitely a tightening up in the league and it became a little bit harder, instead of the four teams battling for the top four positions you have six," he told a news conference.

"Tottenham and City have come into the reckoning as opposed to original four. That makes it far more interesting in that respect as far as I'm concerned and the spectators and for neutrals."