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Feb 15, 2011

Hoddle calls for Spurs conservatism

Tottenham Hotspur icon Glenn Hoddle has tipped his beloved club to overcome AC Milan in the Champions League providing they can go against their natural grain of attacking football to concentrate on the defensive side in the San Siro.

• Redknapp vows to attack
• Milan v Tottenham preview

Harry Redknapp has suggested they will attack, but Hoddle, a former England and Spurs manager, told ESPNsoccernet: "I know Harry Redknapp wants to attack and that is the natural instincts of the team, but I would say they need Sandro and Wilson Palacios in the centre of midfield shielding the defence."

Hoddle said a goalscoring defeat can be enough to aid Tottenham progress: "A 2-1 defeat would be fine, in fact it would be the platform to give them a chance at White Hart Lane - an away goal would be great, even in defeat."

A spate of injuries and illness have meant that Spurs will likely be without Luka Modric and Gareth Bale in the San Siro, while doubts remain about the full fitness of Rafael van der Vaart.

"I would have said go for it if they had all their best players, but it is a real shame that they haven't, so they have to be realistic, a bit more pragmatic even though it isn't their natural game," Hoddle said. "They have to tighten up in defence and need two holding players, in my opinion, to give them that added protection.

"Spurs do have strength in depth, and this will be a big test of that strength of their squad, but for me, they would need their best team out there to have any hope of taking on AC Milan in the San Siro in terms of going for the win. They still have a great chance in the second leg; they showed Inter what can be done at the Lane, and AC Milan will face a big task if Spurs come away from the San Siro with something to cling to.

"Losing creative players like they have done for the first leg means they have to go against their instincts, but it could be a blessing in disguise.

"If it isn't a massive divide, then AC Milan will be surprised by the atmosphere generated at the Lane, and they will be in for a very difficult night."

Hoddle hopes that Milan are not too far ahead after Tuesday night so that Spurs, with Modric and Bale in tandem, can qualify for the quarter-finals in their first season in the Champions League.

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