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Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Redknapp looks to play it safe

Harry Redknapp fears Tottenham will suffer the kind of mauling England endured at the hands of Germany if he goes gung-ho in his side's Champions League Group A opener at Werder Bremen on Tuesday.

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Spurs boss Redknapp is ready to play it safe away from home during what is his side's debut season in the competition by fielding a lone striker and a five-man midfield at the Weserstadion.

Redknapp got his fingers burnt using 4-4-2 in the play-off round first leg at Young Boys last month, with the Swiss side racing to a 3-0 lead inside 28 minutes, and he believes the visitors could face the same fate as England at the World Cup if he does not bolster his midfield.

"At times, especially in Europe, it's difficult to go away from home and play 4-4-2," he said. "We did it last year in the Premier League.

"We went to Man City late in the season when we needed that vital result to get where we are today, but I think it is more difficult the way they (Bremen) play. If they overload midfield tomorrow, you'll get outnumbered.

"If you play 4-4-2, you've got a problem in the middle of the park. It'll be very difficult - you'll get overrun, a little bit like England did against Germany."

He added: "If we play 4-4-2, I think we'll be committing suicide."

Redknapp experimented with a five-man midfield in Saturday's game at West Brom, using Luka Modric and new signing Rafael van der Vaart in behind Roman Pavlyuchenko, but he will almost certainly have to break up that partnership on Tuesday, with Modric likely to be ruled out with a leg injury.

"He's still got pain in his leg, so we'll have to see how he is this evening." Redknapp said on Monday. "I couldn't take a chance on him unless he feels he's right. To go out there and break him down and then lose him for long-term - it just wouldn't be right."

Redknapp was also wary about starting new boys Van der Vaart and William Gallas for the second time four days.

He said of Saturday's match: "I think that was Van der Vaart's first 90 minutes since before the World Cup and William Gallas' first 90 minutes since the World Cup.

"I think they were both completely wiped out almost by the end of the game on Saturday. It was tough for them. It's whether I feel they're ready to play a game so quickly."


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