Redknapp: Carry on Niko

BY foxsports • February 13, 2011

The Croatia midfielder, who might have left White Hart Lane last month, produced a stunning finish to see off Sunderland on Wearside on Saturday a week after accounting for Bolton in similar fashion to make light of Gareth Bale's continued absence. Redknapp revealed after the game at the Stadium of Light that the Welshman is unlikely to make Tuesday night's trip to the San Siro to face AC Milan despite being close to a return from his long-standing back problem. But, with Kranjcar have responded superbly to his chance, Redknapp admitted he might have included him even if Bale was fit. He said: "I could always stick Niko somewhere else if Gareth was fit because Niko deserves his place in the team. "He's a top player. He practises, he spends time after training every day. Every day, he is on the training ground after he finishes doing a half-hour's practice. "His dad was a top player - his dad is now the manager of Montenegro. He has been brought up with the game. "He practises, so it is not coincidence that he can strike a ball. His technique is great." Kranjcar's decisive intervention came 12 minutes after the break as his side recovered from an ordinary opening 45 minutes to assume control. Asamoah Gyan had given the home side an 11th-minute lead with his 10th goal of the season, although Redknapp was less than impressed with the fact that central defender William Gallas was off the pitch at the time changing his boots. The visitors had started without the injured Rafael van der Vaart - his manager later revealed that the Dutchman will be fit to travel to Italy after shaking off a calf injury - and with Wilson Palacios, Aaron Lennon and Peter Crouch on the bench. They struggled to find their usual fluency in the opening half-hour of the game, and it was a set-piece which eventually gave them their foothold. Michael Dawson rose to meet Steven Pienaar's 44th-minute corner and, with Titus Bramble sleeping, the central defender headed through keeper Craig Gordon's legs to level. The equaliser changed the emphasis of Redknapp's half-time team-talk and a much-improved Spurs made the pressure tell when Kranjcar latched on to John Mensah's headed clearance to thump a right-foot volley into the bottom corner. Redknapp was delighted at the resilience his side showed to fight back from a losing position once again. He said: "We have done it more than anybody in the league, I would think, this year. We have come from behind so many times. "We go behind and we keep going, and that's what you have to do. "But I would rather not go behind. I would rather get in front to start with. "I just felt if we could get a goal back, we had a good chance. We came in at 1-1 and I fancied us to win at half-time. I thought we could go on and win it." Redknapp headed south ready to start his preparations for a big night in Italy and already looking forward to the game. He said: "We have been in great form. They [AC Milan] had a big win - they beat Parma 4-0. "Tim Sherwood went over with Les Ferdinand for me and I will speak to them on the way home and tomorrow and get a report on what they saw. "I went last week and watched them and they are a dangerous side. They have got some real quality players. "The front three have all got goals in them - Robinho, [Alexandre[ Pato, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic - they are top-class players. "It will be a big test, but I think we have got a big chance. I think we have got a real chance and I am looking forward to it."


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