Redknapp vows to attack Milan

AFP, Monday 14 Feb 2011

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp insisted his team would have a go at AC Milan when the sides clash in the Champions League at the San Siro on Tuesday

Harry Redknapp

Spurs are the top scorers in the competition this season (alongside north London neighbours Arsenal) with 18 goals in the group stage, an average of three a game.

However they also conceded 11 goals, the most of any team to reach the knockout phase.

They let in four goals on their last visit to the San Siro in a 4-3 defeat against Inter Milan in the group stage but Redknapp says they can't change their style.

"We've got to make sure we're solid here, we can't come out and be completely gung-ho but we do have a problem setting the team up to defend, it's no good saying otherwise," he said.

"Rafa van der Vaart plays that way, Niko (Kranjcar) plays that way, (Aaron) Lennon... We haven't got defensive minded players in those positions who are going to come here, sit there with five across the midfield and soak it up.

"They would find it hard to do, it's not part of the strengths that make them professional footballers.
"They're the exact opposites, they want to play. They will do their best defensively but they're not experts in that field.

"That's the problem for me. If I had different players I might do that but I haven't got those players.
"What I've got is players with a lot of flair who want to go out and play so I have got to get others around them to allow them to go and play."

Although this is Tottenham's first crack at the Champions League -- they had not played in the European Cup since the early 1960s -- Redknapp insists they are more than adapted to the challenge of playing at this level and coping with the atmosphere in grounds such as the San Siro.

"They're all international players anyway, they've played in World Cups and at the highest level, it shouldn't be a problem," he said.

"The Croatian boys have been to Wembley in a massive game and knocked out England (in Euro 2008 qualifying), they've all been in top games, (Peter) Crouch, (Jermaine) Defoe have played in World Cup games.

"It shouldn't phase them, they're looking forward to it."

With Milan top of Serie A there were easier possible draws for Tottenham in the last 16 but Redknapp believes this was the ideal one for his team.

And having played their neighbours Inter already, he doesn't think there is any more to fear from Milan.
"There wouldn't be much between the teams. Inter were dangerous. It would be tight," he said.

"I came last week to watch Milan against Lazio, they've got fantastic players. I wouldn't think there's much between the teams, Inter also have a good team with fantastic players.

"They're two good teams but we're also a good team. It will be a good game.

"I would've chosen this draw. What I didn't want was (FC) Copenhagen. Everyone disrespected them and said that if we'd had them, we would've been in the last eight.

"The pressure of playing them would be too much, it would be a big let-down if it didn't go right.

"Milan is the right game. They're a massive club and we've got the chance of doing well, so for me it's a good draw."

Tottenham centre-back William Gallas says the visitors will have to be wary of the Italians' cunning tactics.

"Maybe I'll have to speak with my team-mates because I know it will be really difficult for us," he said.

"AC Milan have a lot of players with a lot of experience so we have to be careful during the game because Italian players are very clever so I'll have to maybe tell them to be careful at free-kicks.

"We must be compact because I think AC Milan will play very quick in front. They have good strikers, it will be important for us to be very compact."

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