Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Redknapp’s relief after a heart-stopping night for Tottenham Hotspur

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Benoit Assou-Ekotto of Tottenham jumps over Mathieu Flamini of Milan during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Sandro (L) of Tottenham clashes with Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Milan during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Sandro (L) of Tottenham battles for the ball with Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Milan during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Goalkeeper Heurelio Gomes of Tottenham attempts to block an attempt from Pato (R) of Milan during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: William Gallas (L) of Tottenham clears the effort of Robinho (R) of Milan off the line during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: William Gallas (R) of Tottenham clears the effort of Robinho (3R) of Milan off the line during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Robinho (L) of Milan vies for the ball with Vedran Corluka of Tottenham during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Luka Modric (L) of Tottenham and Robinho of Milan battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Tottenham players celebrate after the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: William Gallas (R) of Tottenham clears the effort of Robinho (L) of Milan off the line during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: William Gallas (R) of Tottenham clears the effort of Robinho (3R) of Milan off the line during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Sandro (L) of Tottenham clashes with Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Milan during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Sandro of Tottenham in action during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Sandro (L) of Tottenham vies with Thiago Silva of Milan during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Rafael van der Vaart of Tottenham rues a missed chance during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Steven Pienaar (2R) and Sandro (R) of Tottenham challenge Ignazio Abate of Milan during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Peter Crouch of Tottenham applauds the crowd during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Thiago Silva (L) of Milan vies for the ball with Peter Crouch of Tottenham during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at White Hart Lane on March 9, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was delighted to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals — but admitted it had been a nail-biting encounter with Italian giants, AC Milan.



“I enjoyed the occasion but I couldn't say I enjoyed the 90 minutes,” he said after Spurs secured the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane that saw them advance following the 1-0 first leg triumph in Milan.

“You're looking at that clock and you want the 90 minutes to be up because it's a great achievement for this club to be in the last eight of the Champions League.

“It's amazing what the players have done. If people can't enjoy and appreciate this then they shouldn't be involved in football,” he said.

“It's a great night for the players, a great night for the fans and for everyone.

“I'm delighted. It was hard work. They're a good side — a great club with great tradition. You could see that — they played (Clarence) Seedorf and people like that.

“It was difficult to get near Pato. They've got fantastic ability in their team.

“But we worked our socks off and we stayed with them,” Redknapp added.

“It's a difficult situation when you come home and you've got that one-goal lead.

“It's not like you go for broke. You're always aware you want to hang onto that lead. It was very difficult. We got outnumbered in the middle of the park.

“They had extra men in there and made it difficult for us to get near them,” he explained.

Redknapp admitted the thought of facing Barcelona, possible quarter-final opponents after they beat Spurs' north London rivals Arsenal on Tuesday night, was a daunting one.

“I thought last night (Tuesday) was one of the finest performances I've ever seen,” he said.

“They were amazing. They made a side like Arsenal — who play in our league every week and pass teams to death — almost look out of their depth.

“They're the team you don't want to play at the moment, but whoever comes it's great to be in the last eight.”

Peter Crouch, the goalscoring hero from the first leg in the San Siro, hailed Tottenham's defence.

It was backs-to-the-wall stuff at times as Spurs protected their 1-0 advantage, thanks to notably impressive displays by William Gallas and Michael Dawson

Crouch said: “That's what it was all about.

“Sometimes in the Champions League you come up against top quality players and you have to dig in. I think we deserved it over two legs.”

He continued: “It's huge. The club's not been in the Champions League before. After going to the San Siro and winning, the lads have defended magnificently.

“I'm really pleased to be in the next round,” added Crouch, who was substituted late on.

The England striker had a great chance to score last night from an Aaron Lennon cross but couldn’t direct his header on target.

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