Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has rued the series of events that led to his side’s forgettable 4-0 loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday.It was a torrid evening in Madrid for the Spurs in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Real, who had to contend with the late withdrawal of winger Aaron Lennon and the sending off of striker Peter Crouch early in the first half.
“We lost Aaron Lennon a minute before kick-off. As we were walking to the pitch he didn’t feel very well and he said he had no energy,” Redknapp said.
“I had to make a change as we were leaving the dressing room. Then we went a goal down and had Crouchy sent off. “
“In the first half I thought we did ever so well, we had a couple of good chances. But in the end, it’s difficult to come here with 11 men, never mind play with 10 men for almost 80 minutes.”
Redknapp lamented the sending off, as well as the injury problems that beset the side.
“I haven’t seen it. (Crouch) is the most inoffensive footballer you’ve ever seen. He’s not one for making rash challenges. I don’t know if he has lunged in for the second one, but it has cost us dearly,” he said.
“It’s just what we didn’t need, to have 10 men here against a team like this. We then ended up losing our right-back (Vedran Corluka to injury) and Gareth (Bale) gets cramp. Is he fit, isn’t he fit? It was difficult.”
Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho conceded it was always going to be tough for Redknapp’s men after Crouch’s dismissal, describing the task ahead of 10-man Tottenham as ‘mission impossible’.
“Eleven against 10 at Champions League level – it’s always mission impossible,” the Portuguese said.
“I played Barcelona against Chelsea with 10, impossible; I played with Inter against Barcelona with 10 men – impossible. Arsenal played with 10 men against Barcelona a few weeks ago. It’s impossible.”
“It’s just a question of the team with 11 keeping concentration, keeping a high tempo, not letting their opponents breathe, not letting their opponents have the ball and we did that in the second half, not in the first half.’
Despite the convincing scoreline, Mourinho is refusing to claim victory just yet. He insisted the fighting qualities of English sides meant the tie was far from over.
“Not yet (the match is not over). You know that I know English football well, I know English mentality. I know White Hart Lane,” he said.
“It is not over. For you (English) it is not over. In other cultures I would say yes but in England they have belief until the last minute so it is not over.”