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By ESPN Staff

Harry backs Gomes after UEFA Cup clean sheet

Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp believes the real Heurelho Gomes will now emerge after the goalkeeper bounced back from his poor form with a UEFA Cup clean sheet against NEC Nijmegen.

Gomes, after a string of blunders, did not concede against Blackburn on Sunday and kept out NEC at Stadion De Goffert tonight as Spurs took a huge stride towards the knockout stages of their European campaign.

''He looked very assured and two clean sheets won't do him any harm,'' said Redknapp, after the 1-0 win courtesy of Jamie O'Hara's winner.

''He took every cross. He's been training well and I think his confidence is coming back. You see that with keepers. Hopefully he's out of the bad spell and we'll see what he's really made of.

''Like everything in life, it's about confidence. I think his is coming back.''

Goalkeeper coach Perry Suckling has been working with Gomes and Redknapp has also drafted in former Spurs stopper Tony Parks to work with the Brazilian.

''They've got him working in a more English style,'' Redknapp said. ''Working him, bossing him, talking to him. Plenty of shots and crosses - and he's responded to that.

''He doesn't need to come when there are two centre-halves in front of him who can head the ball. It's a case of picking the right time.''

O'Hara's goal came in the 14th minute after Fraizer Campbell had hit the crossbar, then Gomes was required to save from Moestafa El-Kabir at full stretch to preserve the lead.

Spurs had the better of the Group D clash but snow in the Dutch city and NEC's heaters failing meant it was a bobbly pitch.

''It wasn't a Premier League pitch, that's for sure, and it made it difficult to pass the ball,'' Redknapp said.

The former Portsmouth boss left out Jermaine Jenas as the midfielder needed an injection in his toe, Ledley King was rested, while Roman Pavlyuchenko and Vedran Corluka were cup-tied.

Redknapp admitted the competition is not the priority when they are battling to climb the Barclays Premier League.

''I keep thinking that it's more games,'' he said. ''Everyone wants to be in this competition - half of them want to get out of it.

''With three teams going through from five in the group, it's difficult not to qualify. I prefer the knockout over two legs and this drags it out.

''We want to keep winning but league points are so important and we have a massive game at Watford in the Carling Cup as well.''

One problem for Redknapp was the referee wearing a shirt with similar colours to NEC.

''I kept shouting for someone to mark the referee,'' he said.


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