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Aug 18, 2010

Redknapp blasts astroturf pitch, calls for ban

Harry Redknapp has called for astroturf pitches to be banned from the Champions League after his Tottenham side narrowly avoided total humiliation on Young Boys' artificial surface.

• Young Boys 3-2 Tottenham
• Redknapp happy to escape with 'great defeat'
• Champions League gallery
• Carter: Spurs miss calming King

Spurs suffered a nightmare start in what was their first European Cup-tie for almost half a century as their unfancied Swiss opponents tore their hapless defence to shreds in the opening half-hour in Bern.

But goals from Sebastien Bassong and Roman Pavyluchenko ensured Redknapp's men would take a 3-2 defeat back to London and retain their favourites' tag ahead of next Wednesday's return leg at White Hart Lane.

Redknapp had refused to criticise the Stade de Suisse's plastic pitch in the build-up to tonight's game but let rip after the match, revealing the four changes he had made were all due to fears it would cause some of his players serious injury.

Although insisting it was a better surface than earlier astroturf pitches, Redknapp said: "It's not an excuse but I played on astroturf myself and hated every minute of it.

"We've had it at QPR; we don't have it anymore in England. I don't agree with astroturf and I don't think astroturf should be used in a competition like this.''

Redknapp, who left captain Ledley King at home due to the pitch, revealed he had held a meeting with his unhappy squad about it on Monday.

"I left four players out because they weren't comfortable on the pitch in training yesterday," Redknapp said after the match.

"Aaron Lennon wasn't comfortable, Robbie (Keane) had a problem with his knee. Tom Huddlestone, last time he played on astroturf, he was out for six weeks - his knee blew up like a balloon.

"So I didn't really want to risk Tom tonight. It was a case that we were pretty desperate and I threw him on.''

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