Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Redknapp relieved after win

Shamrock Rovers manager Michael O'Neill admitted to dreaming of what might have been when Stephen Rice put his side ahead 1-0 up against Tottenham.

Three goals in five second-half minutes from Roman Pavlyuchenko, Jermain Defoe and Giovani Dos Santos saw Spurs safely home to a 3-1 UEFA Europa League victory after Rice's 50th minute opener shocked White Hart Lane.

O'Neill said: "I kept looking at the clock and it was telling us there was a long way to go still. You do start to think 'can we actually see this out?'"

He added: "Ultimately, Tottenham's pace and freshness overcame us in the last half hour but the players gave every ounce of effort. They played with great heart even when the score went to 3-1. They were a credit to themselves, the club and the League of Ireland.

"We were going to get a reaction when we scored. After scoring we played well and they seemed to be knocked out of their stride but you look at the bench and who they can introduce into the game and you begin to fear at that point.

"Everybody will be saying how well we've done and there will be lots of pats on the back but the main thing is the players did themselves justice tonight. We ended up gallant losers."

O'Neill also explained why his side faded in the latter stages.

He said: "In the second half you saw a team which is at the end of its season against one at the start of its season and that's the reality. Given the difference in quality between the teams we need to be as fresh as possible. Some of our players have played 50 competitive games this season. It was a huge ask.

"You hope when you score it will give you an energy source but that only lasted 10 minutes or so and in the end we succumbed to a quality side with quality attacking options all over the pitch."

Redknapp, however, admitted he was impressed with Rovers, saying: "They'll get a result somewhere. They are well organised. Great support. We look forward to playing them over in Ireland."


From Belfast Telegraph