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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Redknapp keen to avoid Barca

After becoming the first English manager since Terry Venables to take a side to the quarter-finals of the European Cup, Harry Redknapp says he hopes Tottenham can avoid Barcelona in the last eight.

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Tottenham's first Champions League campaign reached giddy new heights on Wednesday night when they drew 0-0 at home to Milan to defeat the Serie A leaders 1-0 on aggregate and qualify for the next round.

The last English manager to reach this stage was Venables with Barcelona in 1986, and now Redknapp is hoping to avoid the current incarnation of the Catalan side following their impressive defeat of Arsenal on Tuesday.

"Barcelona are the team you don't want to play," Redknapp said. "They made a side like Arsenal, who in our league pass teams to death, almost look out of their depth. I thought Barcelona's performance was one of the finest I have ever seen. They were simply amazing.

"For anyone to beat Barcelona will be really difficult. But we want to go as far as we can. Whoever comes our way, it's just great to be in the last eight."

Under Redknapp, Tottenham finished fourth last season to reach the Champions League for the first time and continued to confound expectations when topping a group including reigning champions Inter.

It has been a fantastic run for the North London side, who have now gone further than their rivals Arsenal in the competition, and Redknapp admitted even he was surprised.

"This is an impossible dream that we have achieved so far," he said. "Two years ago if you would have said that we would have made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, I would have thought you were crazy.

"It's our first year in the club's history we have ever made Champions League football so that was a fantastic achievement to have won our group and to do what we have done against AC Milan. We have beaten AC Milan over two legs with two clean sheets and won our group, which was the hardest of the lot."

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