TOTTENHAM vs INTER MILAN
TOTTENHAM manager Harry Redknapp has urged his players to go for the jugular from the off against Champions League holders Inter Milan this evening.
White Hart Lane is set to host its biggest European night in 26 years and Redknapp knows a repeat of the sluggish start in the San Siro a fortnight ago, which saw Spurs 3-0 down after 14 minutes, could see a potentially historic night turn sour.
With the threat of Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale on the flanks, Spurs certainly have the speed to unsettle the Italian giants and Redknapp believes setting a Premier League pace is imperative.
He said: “We’ve got to set a fast tempo, play the way we want to play, and I think it will be a great night’s football.
“They play and run, play and run and we have to be switched on properly from the start. We know we can cause them problems in certain areas.
“I really fancy us at home with the crowd and a great atmosphere. This is a great game to look forward to. It’s fantastic for us to be playing the holders under the lights at White Hart Lane.”
Meanwhile, Redknapp has told the media to expect the silent treatment should the Football Association punish him for his verbal attack on referee Mark Clattenburg.
Redknapp will find out today whether or not the FA is to charge him after he labelled the decision to allow Nani’s 84th minute clinching goal in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford as “scandalous” and suggested the referee might “come up with a story that will make it all look right”.
At the prospect of being charged, Redknapp (below) said: “If they want to make an issue of what I said then I’ll make some issues as well - don’t worry.
“Don’t expect me to come out on the TV anymore – ever – and speak to the press after a game.
“If you want me just to come and talk rubbish and say, ‘No, it was a good decision, I’m quite happy with it’, then don’t bother to get me to come out after a game.
“We shouldn’t be dragged out onto TV two, three, four minutes after a game.”
On a happier note for Redknapp, he is likely to have influential playmaker Rafael van der Vaart at his disposal after he shrugged off a hamstring problem to train yesterday. Midfielder Tom Huddlestone is also back in contention after a groin injury.
KEY CLASH | THE DUTCH MASTERS
TONIGHT’S box office Champions League clash at White Hart Lane will pit, fitness permitting, the Premier League’s newest poster boy, Rafael van der Vaart, against his Dutch international team-mate and favourite to win the 2010 Ballon d’Or, Wesley Sneijder.
Their careers have been almost intrinsically linked since they shot to prominence at Ajax as precocious teenagers.
Van der Vaart moved to Bundesliga giants Hamburg in 2005 and spent three years in Germany, before a big money move to Real Madrid in 2008 where he again teamed up with Sneijder, who had switched to the Bernabeu a year earlier.
Both struggled to assert themselves in Spain despite, particularly in Sneijder’s case, bright starts and moves to Inter Milan and Spurs have given them each a new lease of life.
Ajax 104 (51) 163 (50)
Real Madrid 70 (12) 62 (11)
Holland 87 (16) 72 (19)
*Numbers not in brackets = appearances
*Number in brackets = goals