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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 2, 2007

Redknapp defends Pamarot challenge

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp jumped to the defence of his former Tottenham defender Noe Pamarot after the sides' 1-1 draw at Fratton Park.

Spurs boss Martin Jol branded the French player's challenge on Egyptian midfielder Hossam Ghaly 'cynical'.

Ghaly was left with a split lip that required five stitches and also lost four teeth after Pamarot's flying boot caught him in the mouth in the opening three minutes.

But Redknapp furiously rejected Jol's claim that the damage was deliberately done and said: 'That's nonsense. It was a pure accident and although I'm sorry the kid has lost a few teeth what can you do ?'

Redknapp used stronger language as well after being told that Jol, who sold Pamarot to Pompey a year ago, said: 'I know him. He is a terrific lad, exceptional, but not always when he is on the pitch.'

And the Portsmouth chief insisted: 'Noe does not have a cynical bone in his body. Sometimes I wish he was more aggressive but he is actually too much of a laid-back character.

'What has Martin Jol said about him? I can't believe it.'

The incident was certainly a nasty one, with Ghaly coughing up blood before going off for seven minutes of treatment, but there can be no doubt he ducked down into Pamarot's clumsy attempt to clear the ball.

And the Spurs boss may be asked to at least explain his remarks by the Football Association - especially if Pompey complain.

Ghaly came back to play the entire first half but did not appear for the second period, with Jol saying: 'If I had known how bad it was I would not have let him go back at all.

'I listened to the doctor as always but towards the end of the first half I saw some danger signs.

'Ghaly was unbelievable. Most people would have gone to hospital with that injury and stayed a week.

'At first the referee told me there was no foul but when I looked at it again (on tape) I thought it was cynical.'

Ghaly, in fact, is likely to be out of action for up to two weeks but the real irony was that soon after the incident Pamarot collapsed - with no other player near him - having torn a groin muscle and could be out for even longer.

When the football finally got going again, below-par Pompey scored with their first shot on target after nearly 30 minutes, Benjani Mwaruwari beating Paul Robinson with a shot that deflected off the unfortunate Calum Davidson.

But the enforced substitution of Danny Murphy for Ghaly galvanised Spurs in the second half, although they were under little threat in the first.

Steed Malbranque equalised with a header into an empty net from Murphy's superb cross five minutes after the break and they would have had more but for David James' fine saves from Jermain Defoe, Tom Huddlestone and Davenport.

Redknapp was full of praise for his goalkeeper, adding: 'David James was fantastic. If he is no longer in the England squad then there must be something wrong. He's so fit he will go on until he is 40 or 41.

'After (Tottenham's) Paul Robinson the other England keepers are lads who cannot get places in their own club teams like Liverpool and Manchester United and are out on loan. He is still the best `keeper I've worked with.'