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Apr 12, 2011

Redknapp: I believe in miracles

Harry Redknapp insists his Tottenham side can pull off a miracle as they look to overturn a four-goal deficit in their Champions League quarter final against Real Madrid.

Tottenham were destroyed by Jose Mourinho's side in Madrid last week, losing striker Peter Crouch to a needless red card before going on to lose 4-0 in the Bernabeu.

No team in the history of the competition has been able to overturn a four-goal margin from a first leg defeat, although three teams have managed it in other UEFA tournaments.

That said, those three teams were facing Borussia Monchengladbach, La Choux-de-Fonds, and Queens Park Rangers, and not team blessed with the world's best talent looking to conquer Europe for the 10th time. Bookmakers rate Spurs' chances of making the semi-finals as long as 50-1, but Redknapp nonetheless cut a relaxed and optimistic figure today.

"We are in a situation where everyone feels the tie is over but we know we are a good team and can play well here at White Hart Lane,'' Redknapp said. "We know it will take a miracle but miracles can happen and we have to believe that we can give it our best shot and if we play very well, you never know what will happen.

"I went last year to see Juventus at Craven Cottage and Fulham were 3-1 down after the first leg and then went 1-0 down on the night early on. They came back and won the tie. It was one of the great games I've seen and shows that anything is possible. You never know with football.

"We have to turn in a good performance and see if we can win the game and we will see where it takes us from there. We will see how it develops.''

Spurs came back from 3-0 down in the qualifying round against Young Boys to make the group stages and then almost pulled off a similar feat against Inter, where they fell one goal short of a 4-4 draw after Gareth Bale's superb second-half hat-trick.

The attacking football that Redknapp has employed throughout the competition has endeared the team to many neutrals, but the Tottenham manager admits he may have to rein his team in for the first time, despite the four-goal deficit.

"It's OK saying you're going to attack them but you can't be that open,'' Redknapp added. "You are playing against world-class players. You don't want to start bombing forward and be ripped open on the counter-attack and get hammered that way. You have to be controlled and take the chances when they come and give it our best go.''

The club have enjoyed a dream debut season in the competition, defeating both Milan giants, FC Twente, Werder Bremen and Young Boys to reach the quarter-finals. They may be three points behind Manchester City in the hunt for a place in next year's Champions League, but the experience of playing in this year's competition has left Redknapp desperate for more.

"It has been a great run and we have enjoyed every minute of it,'' the 64-year-old said. "Every game has been an absolutely fantastic, home and away and we have been involved in some amazing games. When we came into it at the start if you'd have said we would make the last eight, we would have taken that for sure.''

Mourinho may rest some of the seven players he has on yellow cards, but the stellar squad he has at his fingertips means that Real are more than capable of scoring the first goal that would kill the tie.

Redknapp will be forced into a reshuffle up front, with Jermain Defoe and Roman Pavlyuchenko vying to replace the suspended Peter Crouch.

Redknapp would not reveal which striker he would choose to partner Rafael van der Vaart, but did reveal that Aaron Lennon is available after overcoming the illness that prompted his last-minute withdrawal from the first leg.

Redknapp said: "Aaron trained Tuesday morning. He feels better. I think he should be ok. He is available tomorrow.''

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