Harry Redknapp insisted Portsmouth supporters were “not a bunch of nutters” as he looked forward to returning to Fratton Park for the first time since joining Tottenham 12 months ago.
The Spurs boss has been blamed in part by some for the financial problems at the south-coast club, although he has refused any special security on his return.
Instead, Redknapp claimed his house in Sandbanks was being decorated by Portsmouth fans and that his grandson Harry still runs around in a Pompey shirt.
Redknapp said: “I see Portsmouth supporters every day at the petrol station driving down from where I live. I have people painting my house at the moment who are Pompey-mad. They're as good as gold.
“They're not lunatics. They're not a bunch of nutters. They are all being labelled as a bunch of maniacs. They're not. They are good people. You'll always have some big mouths there but it shows you what a good job I must have done that they are so upset that I left.
“Normally they are pleased to get rid of you when you leave. I went there when they were bottom of the league with the worst team we have seen in the Premier League. Whoever assembled that lot God only knows!”
Tottenham will start without midfield star Wilson Palacios, who was ordered by Honduras president Roberto Micheletti to attend the celebration reception after helping his country reach the World Cup finals with a 1-0 win over El Salvador in midweek.
Palacios will arrive back early this morning and go straight to the team hotel but Redknapp said: “It is disappointing, but there is nothing we could do about it. He's struggling for tomorrow. I've been trying to get hold of him but he's been travelling. He's a big loss to us. I can't start him in a game when he's travelled. He played Thursday morning our time.”