SHAMROCK ROVERS 0 vs TOTTENHAM 4
TOTTENHAM manager Harry Redknapp could find himself in hot water with Uefa after he appeared to aim a clenched-fist gesture at Shamrock Rovers supporters during last night’s 4-0 win in Dublin which failed to prolong his side’s Europa League campaign.
Goals from Steven Pienaar, Andros Townsend, Jermain Defoe and Harry Kane ensured a comfortable evening for Spurs on the pitch, but the 1-1 draw Russian outfit Rubin Kazan claimed away against PAOK Salonika saw them qualify at the expense of the Premier League side.
Off the field, however, Redknapp endured a testing evening and was constantly barracked by the home support. The 64-year-old appeared to lose his temper with 20 minutes remaining and aimed a gesture at fans seated behind the visiting dugout.
When asked if he had made an obscene gesture towards the Rovers fans, Redknapp said: “Not really. Did I make an obscene gesture? No, I didn’t make one. No.
“I have spent enough time in Ireland to know what lovely people they are. If you go and meet them afterwards they are probably lovely people. But they get together and shout a load of nonsense and that is football. That’s life. I don’t hold any grudges.”
Spurs made nine changes to the side which slumped to a first defeat in 12 league games at Stoke on Sunday and initially struggled to find the fluency that has characterised their recent impressive form.
Indeed, it took until the 29th minute for the Premier League aristocrats to break the deadlock. Pienaar was afforded too much space on the edge of the area and the South Africa international located the far corner with the aid of a slight deflection.
Townsend doubled the lead 10 minutes later when he curled an inch-perfect first-time effort inside Paul Brush’s left-hand post and a rout looked like it was on the cards when Defoe, via another helpful deflection, prodded beyond Brush from six yards in first-half injury-time.
But with news filtering through of Rubin Kazan’s equaliser in Greece, Spurs noticeably eased up in the second half and could easily have been reduced to 10 men when Karl Sheppard was prevented from running through on goal by Jake Livermore’s agricultural challenge.
Spurs had to wait until the last minute to add to their tally when substitute Kane spun his marker and swept home his first goal for the club.
“It was disappointing. I want to win every game. We haven’t not gone through for lack of trying,” added Redknapp. “If I had played players like Scott Parker we might have sneaked through, but we might not have won 10 out of 11 league games though.”
BY JAMES GOLDMAN
Spurs always looked likely to fulfil their part of the qualification bargain by recording a convincing victory, but unfortunately for them their fate was always destined to be dictated by events some 1,500 miles away in Salonika. A goal behind and down to 10 men, Rubin Kazan appeared to be on the brink, but Nelson Valdez’s 48th minute leveller rendered Tottenham’s efforts in Dublin irrelevant.
In a roundabout sort of way Harry Redknapp got what he wanted last night – a convincing win achieved without having to field the likes of first team regulars Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, while the embarrassment that accompanies an early European exit is likely to subside once the competition starts up again in February. A Thursday-Sunday playing schedule is a scenario both Manchester clubs will now have to contend with, while Spurs, as the old saying goes, are now free to concentrate on the league.