Nervous Redknapp delighted as Spurs reach quarter-finals
Harry Redknapp breathes sigh of relief as Tottenham reach the last eight after edging past AC Milan
Harry Redknapp admitted he was overcome with nerves as he watched his Tottenham side battle past AC Milan to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
Spurs held firm to seal a goalless draw in a tense encounter and claim a 1-0 aggregate success thanks to Peter Crouch’s valuable first-leg strike at the San Siro three weeks ago.
A relieved Redknapp said: “I enjoyed the occasion but I couldn’t say I enjoyed the 90 minutes. You’re looking at that clock and you want that 90 minutes to be up because it’s a great achievement for this club to be in the last eight of the Champions League.”
The Spurs boss admitted the threat of Milan snatching an away goal left him with a tactical dilemma. He continued: “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.”
But Redknapp refused to let a night of gripping tension overshadow his side’s “amazing” achievement after knocking out the Serie A leaders.
“It’s a great night for the players, a great night for the fans and for everyone,” he said. “I’m delighted. It’s amazing what the players have done. We worked our socks off and we stayed with them.”
Striker Crouch, who suffered a quiet night in front of goal in north London, was quick to heap praise on his side’s rearguard after they were able to contain the considerable threat of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexandre Pato.
“Sometimes in the Champions League you come up against top quality players and you have to dig in,” said Crouch. “After going to the San Siro and winning, the lads have defended magnificently tonight.
He added: “I think we deserved it over two legs. It’s huge. I’m really pleased to be in the next round.”
Redknapp, meanwhile, admitted he is not keen to be paired with Arsenal’s conquerors Barcelona in the quarter-finals after the Catalan giants booked their place in the last eight with 4-3 aggregate win on Tuesday.
“I thought last night was one of the finest performances I’ve ever seen,” he said. “They (Barcelona) were amazing.
“They made a side like Arsenal, who play in our league every week and pass teams to death, they made them 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.”