Quarter-final, first leg. Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Tottenham (0) v Real Madrid (4)
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Redknapp was upbeat ahead of Wednesday’s quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid, insisting “miracles do happen” as examined the possibility of overturning the 4-0 deficit.
“We played well on Saturday so we’re in a good frame of mind,” said Redknapp. “It’s a fantastic game to look forward to though we’d like to be a lot closer. The first leg didn’t go our way but it’s a great game to look forward to – Real Madrid at White Hart Lane in the last eight of the Champions League. The fans are looking forward to it and so are the players. We’ll give it our best shot; that’s all we can do. Hopefully we’ll play very well and make a real game of it.
“We’ve got to turn in a great performance and see where it takes us. You can’t be that open against a team with world-class players. We can’t bomb forward, get ripped apart on the counterattack and get hammered. We’ve got to be controlled and take our chances if they come. Everyone feels the tie is over and we know it will take a miracle, but miracles do happen. If we play very well then you never know.
“It’s been a great run and we’ve enjoyed every minute. Every game has been fantastic, home and away, and we’ve been involved in some amazing games. When we came into this, we would have taken being in the last eight. I saw Fulham at home to Juventus last year [in the UEFA Europa League round of 16]. They were 3-1 down after the first leg then 1-0 down at home but won the tie, so nothing is impossible.”
Spurs’ injury worries eased on Saturday when Younes Kaboul and Tom Huddlestone made their first appearances of 2011. Vedran Corluka is a minor doybt, while. Aaron Lennon, a late withdrawal with illness in Madrid, is available for a side missing the suspended Peter Crouch.
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, is taking nothing for granted as he aims to take his side into a mouth watering semi-final clash with arch-rivals Barcelona.
“We have to respect Tottenham and football because sometimes football can betray you: we cannot give it the chance to,” he said. “That’s why we come here to play seriously.
“We know the mentality of English players, supporters and teams. They will try everything and if I was in Harry Redknapp’s position I would not throw the towel in. I would try everything to make the miracle happen. We have to respect the opponents but at the same time I don’t think five goals will be enough for Tottenham as we are coming here to score goals.
“Our objective is to get through to the next round. If we were to lose 4-2 or 5-2 we would be in the semi-finals but Madrid don’t go into matches thinking like that. We’re unbeaten [in the Champions League this season] and justifiably proud of that record. It would be better to maintain that and carry it on into next season. It’s all about improving and keeping the confidence going.
Several Real players are within one caution of suspension and Mourinho has advised his players to sensible tonight.
“Some of the players are in a complicated situation [Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Ricardo Carvalho, Ángel Di María and Raúl Albiol are all within a booking of suspension],” he continued.
“Players must be intelligent and aware – they know their own situation. We must respect the opponents and football so I will pick the team with the best chance to win the game. It’s a big match; we want to be in the semi-final and the job is not done.”
Sami Khedira is back after missing Saturday’s win over Athletic Bilbao with flu and Karim Benzema is set to return after a fortnight out with a torn hamstring.