Bassong rues mistake at Rubin
Sebastien Bassong has apologized for the error which led to Tottenham failing to deliver the Europa League win over Rubin Kazan which would have lifted the spirits of ailing manager Harry Redknapp.
Redknapp was left at his Dorset home over 2,000 miles away from Kazan after undergoing a procedure to unblock two coronary arteries yesterday.
The 64-year-old will not have liked what he saw from back in Britain as Tottenham's second string put in a dour performance against the Russian side, going down 1-0 thanks to a 55th minute free-kick from Bebras Natcho.
Had it not been for an excellent performance from Carlo Cudicini in goal, Rubin could have bagged at least five goals on what was a chilly night in the Russian city over 450 miles east of Moscow.
Bassong was the man who was at fault for the goal. The Cameroon defender, who earlier had spoken of his desire to leave Tottenham in January, tried to dribble out of his own box, but lost control of the ball and hacked down Alexander Ryazantsev to give away the free-kick which Natcho scored.
Bassong was apologetic after the match, saying: "What can I say? I told the lads: 'Sorry, I should have cleared it. I'm sorry'.
"It's simple. I should have cleared the ball and I took an extra touch, an extra bad touch. I didn't see him coming and when I found out it was too late because I had a bad touch.
"I was praying it wouldn't be a goal but it was."
Redknapp, who picked the team before they made the five-hour journey from London without him, played youngsters Andros Townsend, Ryan Fredericks and Tom Carroll, but also included internationals like Steven Pienaar, Jermain Defoe and William Gallas.
But despite their superior experience and quality, the team failed to find their rhythm throughout and could not even muster a shot on target.
At the other end, Cudicini was excellent, with the best of his many saves coming just before the half hour when he diverted Natcho's blistering effort over the bar.
Redknapp's assistant Kevin Bond was delighted with the 38-year-old's performance.
"Carlo pulled off one save in particular in the first half and a couple of other excellent saves for us tonight and that is what he knew he was capable of," Bond said on Thursday night.
Redknapp was released from hospital this afternoon and has vowed to be back at work soon, possibly even for Sunday's Barclays Premier League game at Fulham.
Bond said yesterday that he does not want the 64-year-old to damage his long-term health by coming back early, and the Tottenham assistant revealed that he was so intent on Redknapp resting that he left his phone in the dressing room to stop him ringing him.
"I left my phone in the changing room and will give him a call on the way home," Bond said.
"I spoke to him earlier in the day and he was in fine form. He is threatening to come in tomorrow - perhaps a bit of extra training for the lads!"
Bond denied that Tottenham had taken their Russian opposition lightly, and insisted that the London club can still make it through to the second round despite dropping to third in Group A because of the loss.
"We were under no illusion how good a side they were," Bond said.
"They are a very good side with a lot of good players and in the end just one goal made the difference. "It is going to be tight right until the end, but with the games we have got left, it is still in our hands to qualify and we feel confident we will do."
Rubin boss Kurban Berdyev was happy to see his side climb back in to contention for the second round with the win.
"After going 1-0 up our players were afraid of the counter-attack, but then we got back to our game and everything was fine," he said.
"We have noticed that English teams do try to win and we took that into consideration while building the tactics for the game."