Redknapp vows to attack at San Siro
Harry Redknapp has vowed to stick to the all-out-attack principles that have carried Tottenham to the Champions League knock-out stages against AC Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday.
The Champions League is often regarded as the tactical peak of club football, with matches resembling chess matches. Tottenham's play is far from thoughtless but the idea of going to one of Europe's most storied clubs with an attacking mentality seems a risky prospect.
But more risky, in Redknapp's eyes, would be to force him team to adopt a style that does not his players nor their mentalities. Tottenham's open approach has got them into a few sticky situations along the way but it has also got them this far against expectations.
Redknapp was forced to endure a humiliating first half the last time his side visited the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in October. Spurs had been tipped to cause an upset against Inter but they found themselves reduced to 10 men and 4-0 down at the break after a dreadful first-half display littered with defensive errors.
Gareth Bale's sublime second-half hat-trick restored some pride that night but Tottenham's defensive frailties continued to be exposed throughout their Champions League group stage campaign in which they conceded 11 goals from four matches. Bale will be absent after failing to recover from a back injury and the absence of Tom Huddlestone (ankle) and Jermaine Jenas (suspension) has left Redknapp short of options in midfield. But Redknapp still insisted he will "have a right go" at Milan.
He said: "Attacking football is what got us here in the first place. We have had a go all through this competition so we will have a right go again at San Siro. We can score here. I don't want to concede bags of goals for sure. We can't afford to make the same mistakes and can't start like that again but as far as shutting up shop goes it's a non-starter because we don't have the players here.''
Bale's withdrawal is a big blow for Tottenham given his inspirational role in their narrow defeat here four months ago and in the 3-1 win at White Hart Lane in the reverse fixture in November. Niko Kranjcar has played well in Bale's absence, scoring two in his last two games. Redknapp is glad the Croatia midfielder decided to turn down the chance to leave White Hart Lane last month and is convinced he will be put in a good performance this evening.
He said: "The most difficult part of this job is leaving people out of the team but to be fair Niko just got on with it, kept working hard and got back in. Niko genuinely is a great lad. He never came in to tell me he didn't want to travel away from home or anything.''
Serie A leaders Milan may be without Gianluca Zambrotta, Massimo Ambrosini, Andrea Pirlo and Filippo Inzaghi for Tuesday night's game but have been buoyed by Saturday's 4-0 win against Parma and are confident of progressing thanks to their wealth of experience in Europe's premier club competition.
Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said: "We have a big advantage in that we have many players who have won the Champions League a couple of times, they have lots of experience that gives you calm and tranquility in the team.''