Many have written off Tottenham Hotspur chances of overturning last week’s 4-0 defeat at Real Madrid, but Harry Redknapp and José Mourinho are not among them. Redknapp concedes his side need a miracle, and though he stresses “miracles do happen”, Mourinho warned that five goals will not be enough against his hungry charges.
Harry Redknapp, Tottenham manager
We played well on Saturday so we’re in a good frame of mind. It’s a fantastic game to look forward to though we’d like to be a lot closer. The first leg didn’t go our way but it’s a great game to look forward to – Real Madrid at White Hart Lane in the last eight of the Champions League. The fans are looking forward to it and so are the players. We’ll give it our best shot; that’s all we can do. Hopefully we’ll play very well and make a real game of it.
We’ve got to turn in a great performance and see where it takes us. You can’t be that open against a team with world-class players. We can’t bomb forward, get ripped apart on the counterattack and get hammered. We’ve got to be controlled and take our chances if they come. Everyone feels the tie is over and we know it will take a miracle, but miracles do happen. If we play very well then you never know.
It’s been a great run and we’ve enjoyed every minute. Every game has been fantastic, home and away, and we’ve been involved in some amazing games. When we came into this, we would have taken being in the last eight. I saw Fulham at home to Juventus last year [in the UEFA Europa League round of 16]. They were 3-1 down after the first leg then 1-0 down at home but won the tie, so nothing is impossible.
José Mourinho, Madrid coach
We have to respect Tottenham and football because sometimes football can betray you: we cannot give it the chance to. That’s why we come here to play seriously. We know the mentality of English players, supporters and teams. They will try everything and if I was in Harry Redknapp’s position I would not throw the towel in. I would try everything to make the miracle happen. We have to respect the opponents but at the same time I don’t think five goals will be enough for Tottenham as we are coming here to score goals.
Our objective is to get through to the next round. If we were to lose 4-2 or 5-2 we would be in the semi-finals but Madrid don’t go into matches thinking like that. We’re unbeaten [in the UEFA Champions League this season] and justifiably proud of that record. It would be better to maintain that and carry it on into next season. It’s all about improving and keeping the confidence going.
Some of the players are in a complicated situation [Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Ricardo Carvalho, Ángel Di María and Raúl Albiol are all within a booking of suspension]. Players must be intelligent and aware – they know their own situation. We must respect the opponents and football so I will pick the team with the best chance to win the game. It’s a big match; we want to be in the semi-final and the job is not done.
Redknapp’s personnel worries eased on Saturday when Younes Kaboul and Tom Huddlestone made their first appearances of 2011. Vedran Ćorluka shook off an ankle problem to line up at right-back though he suffered a similar injury and is a minor doubt for Wednesday. Aaron Lennon, a late withdrawal with illness in Madrid, is availablefor a side shorn of the suspended Peter Crouch.
Sami Khedira is back after missing Saturday’s Athletic Club win with flu and Karim Benzema is poised to return after a fortnight out with a torn hamstring. Pedro León, Fernando Gago and Lassana Diarra all sat out training on Tuesday, while Pepe is suspended following his first-leg booking.
Spurs were overawed in the Bernabeu last week and going down to ten men so quickly did not help their cause. Tonight Tottenham will have a passionate White Hart Lane crowd behind them and that will hekp as they are up against a better team in Real Madrid.
It will be interesting to see how Jose Mourinho plays this tonight as he has a game with Barcelona this weekend. Will he rest some of his stars with one eye on El Clásico?
I expect Spurs to get a famous victory but for Real Madrid to move into the semi-finals against Barcelona.
Score: Spurs 2 Real Madrid 1
What do you think the score will be?