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Real Madrid v Spurs Champions League Preview

Real Madrid coach José Mourinho, his side decimated by injuries said a goalless home draw against Tottenham Hotspur FC would represent a “good result”. His Spurs counterpart and “friend” Harry Redknapp, meanwhile, looks set to have Gareth Bale at his disposal as he plans to stick to his forward-thinking principles despite the daunting surroundings of the Santiago Bernabéu.

José Mourinho, Madrid coach
It’s time to think about the Champions League. This is a match many teams would like to play in and not all can. It’s a few years since Madrid reached this round and a few years since the Bernabéu saw this stage. Whoever is playing in the quarter-finals has only got to think about that.

A draw at home is always a good result in the Champions League, especially if it’s 0-0. Harry Redknapp is my friend and I’m very happy because when I was in England he didn’t have the chances he has now. If I don’t reach the final I want him to do it. He would be ready to face the challenge of being coach of the England team.

Rafa [van der Vaart] made a good decision choosing Tottenham. I always want to see players happy and I think he is happy now. He could be a good player for us, too. He made his decision and we made ours when we chose [Mesut] Özil.

Harry Redknapp, Tottenham manager
Bale gives us everything. He can carry the ball and attack very quickly. He is fine and if he is OK he will play. He could be very important for us. It’s a difficult game – Real Madrid are favourites, but we come here very optimistic. Real Madrid have fantastic players and we have to deal with that.

We will try to give them problems and try to avoid the problems they give to us. It’s not important if they have lost their record at home. Real Madrid are one of the great clubs in football. We must start the game well like we did in Milan.

We don’t have defensive players, they’re not here, so we have what we have. They are attacking players. We approach the game in the same way. It’s been tough from the start − we have had no easy games. The only pressure we have is to play well. We will try to make the dream come true – we still have a chance.

Team news
Madrid

Gonzalo Higuaín was a substitute against Sporting Gijón on Saturday, his first appearance since suffering a slipped disc on 20 November. Ronaldo (hamstring) and Marcelo (bruised rib) trained on Monday, and though Ángel di María did not, the winger has been included in the squad along with Kaká (knee). Definitely out, however, are the in-form Karim Benzema (hamstring), Fernando Gago (adductors) and Pedro León (knee).

Tottenham
Bale has recovered from a hamstring problem and should play, while William Gallas (knee) will undergo a late fitness test. Right-back Alan Hutton is not expected to feature again this season after knee surgery, with defensive trio Ledley King (groin), Jonathan Woodgate (calf) and Younes Kaboul (thigh) also certain to miss out. Midfielder Steven Pienaar is absent with a groin injury.

Prediction
Injuries are really hurting Real Madrid’s attacking prowess, and I expect Spurs to set-up defensively like they did against AC Milan and dare Real Madrid to attack them. Spurs’s speed on the wings with Bales and Lennon will give Madrid trouble on the counter-attack and I can see Tottenham getting a valuable away goal here.

Score: Real Madrid 1 Spurs 1

What do you think the score will be?

 

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