Spurs will go out to attack AC Milan at San Siro, vows Redknapp
HARRY Redknapp has announced that he will send his Spurs team out to score an away goal at the San Siro tonight, and ignore the temptation to shut up shop in Milan.
The Lilywhites have conceded 12 goals in four games on the continent in their Champions League campaign so far, scoring 10 in reply away from home.
Redknapp admits that Tottenham must keep the tie alive ahead of the home leg at White Hart Lane on March 9.
But the Spurs boss insists that he has no intention of simply trying to repel the Italian Serie A leaders, and is adamant that he will stick with the attacking principles which have taken Tottenham into the last 16.
“We want to come here and make sure we are in the game when we go back to White Hart Lane. It’s important that we do that,” said Redknapp.
“We feel that at home we can beat anyone on European nights with the fantastic atmosphere. We have proved this year with the goals that we have scored that we can be a handful for anyone.
“We have to make sure we stay in the game tonight but we are capable of scoring here. We have got to look to score and we have got goals. [Peter] Crouch has had a great run in Europe, we have to see if he is fit. He has had an epidural injection in his back.
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“I’m not thinking about being defensive. I do have a problem in sending a team out to defend, because I haven’t got the players.
“Rafael Van der Vaart plays the way he plays, and it’s the same with [Niko] Kranjcar and [Aaron] Lennon. We don’t have defensive players who sit across midfield. That’s not part of their strengths. They’re the exact opposite really, they want to play and they’re not experts in defending.
“I don’t want to start taking their strengths away from them, or ask them to do jobs that they are not capable of doing. If I’m going to get the best out of the players I have available then they have to play their best game.”
Having topped Group A ahead of Inter Milan, Werder Bremen and FC Twente, Spurs could have drawn FC Copenhagen, Lyon, Valencia, Roma or Marseille in the last 16.
Unfortunately, the Lilywhites were pitted against AC Milan instead – but Redknapp insists that he got the draw he wanted.
“It was the tie that I would have chosen. People said to me that they wanted Copenhagen but they were the last team that I wanted,” said the manager. “I just thought they were disrespecting them, saying we’d be in the last eight if we drew them, and I didn’t want that.
“The pressure of playing them would have almost been too much. That would have been a downer. I just felt that Milan was a great game to play. It’s a massive club and we have a genuine chance of winning so it was a good draw for me.”
Spurs’ last trip to the San Siro started disastrously as the Lilywhites found themselves 4-0 down against Inter Milan after 35 minutes – and with 10 men following the early dismissal of Heurelho Gomes.
However, Redknapp is convinced that his side will handle the pressure when they kick off at Italy’s world-famous arena again tonight.
“Out players are all international players who have played in World Cups and have played at the highest level, so it won’t be a problem for us,” said Redknapp.
“The Croatian boys came to Wembley and played in a massive game that knocked England out of the European Championships on that night. They have all been in top games.
“Crouchy, [Jermain] Defoe, they have all played in World Cup games so it shouldn’t phase them at all and they’ll be looking forward to it.
“That experience of coming here earlier in the season has prepared us well. We know what to expect coming here to play, with the atmosphere. We have to get off to a better start than we did here last time for sure.”