For any Tottenham Hotspur supporters anxiously preparing for their ritual Stamford Bridge punishment, Harry Redknapp has a useful message. The sense of foreboding which is natural on the back of a 22-year winless streak in this fixture has absolutely no impact on the players.

Redknapp rejects this perception that players become psychologically affected by side-issues analysed by media and fans. In his view, players live in a bubble. The idea that any of his squad feel burdened by the knowledge they have a hoodoo to break prompted a knowing smile and a shake of the head from Redknapp. On a sunny Friday morning at Spurs Lodge, he was doubtful that the players even knew who they were up against the following day.

"If I said to Benny Ekotto we have not won at Chelsea, he wouldn't have a clue," Redknapp explained. "He probably doesn't even know we are playing Chelsea until we tell him later on. And that is genuine. He wouldn't look at the fixtures. He would turn up and say: 'What time is the coach tomorrow gaffer?' And that is it. He will be here, but he wouldn't be sure if we were going to Arsenal or Chelsea. We have got a lot of foreign players here now and they get on with it. The history of the clubs is probably lost on them in all honesty."

Under the circumstances, it is no bad thing for the players to be impervious to any pressures outside the basic need to emerge from Stamford Bridge unscathed. After a testing and unrewarding run that has seen them falter in the chase for a top-four finish, Redknapp is eager to ensure Chelsea are kept at a distance.

He warns that failure to qualify for the Champions League would be a worrying missed opportunity, as he expects the challenge to become increasingly difficult. He predicts that Chelsea will attempt to strengthen again in the summer.

Redknapp sat in an adjacent box to Roman Abramovich for Chelsea's Champions League triumph over Napoli, and observed an owner who appeared intent on winning. "He is not going to accept fighting for fourth place, is he?" Redknapp mused. "I have seen the man there. He ain't going to accept anything but winning."

Maintaining the current five-point gap over Chelsea is the immediate priority, and what he has seen in training has given Redknapp some optimism.

Even though Aaron Lennon is not quite ready to return, Emmanuel Adebayor has a chance of playing. "I fancy we will do well. Last year we dominated and were one up. We were in great shape but they scored late and then got that last-minute winner," he recalled. It was a game that finished with some fortuitous decisions for Chelsea. "We haven't got a good record but it would be about time we put that right now."