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