Redknapp dreaming of Euro glory

BY foxsports • April 4, 2011

Spurs arrived at the Bernabeu on Monday evening having beaten Inter Milan and AC Milan on the way to making the last eight. In Real Madrid, champions of Europe nine times, they face an intimidating opponent blessed with some of the best players in the world and a coach in Jose Mourinho who is seeking his third Champions League winner's medal. But with rampaging winger Gareth Bale set to make his return to action, and the team buoyed by the victories that have got them to the quarter-finals, Spurs should not feel under any pressure according to their boss. "I don't feel any pressure. No one expected us to be here at the start of the season and we have a big chance of winning," Redknapp said. "We are not just coming here to turn up. We want to keep progressing. The dream is still there for us, we have to make that dream come true. We want to go all the way if we can. We know how difficult it's going to be but there is still a chance and we have to take it." Bale trained with his team-mates this evening, and he will play tomorrow if he suffers no recurrence of the hamstring injury which has troubled him recently. The main talking point of today's pre-match build-up has not been the issue of Bale's fitness, however, but that of Cristiano Ronaldo. Jose Mourinho today delayed naming his squad and dodged questions on his Portuguese compatriot before announcing him in the group for Tuesday's clash, which will take place in front of a sell-out 80,000 crowd. Ronaldo is expected to start despite his hamstring problem and Redknapp admits the prospect of facing him is daunting. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm pleased that Ronaldo is playing," Redknapp added. "He is a fantastic player. It's a toss-up between him and Lionel Messi for who is the best player in the world. Those are two amazing footballers." Mourinho lavished praise on Redknapp on Monday, insisting that the 64-year-old could easily take over from Fabio Capello as England boss next year. Redknapp returned the favour on Monday evening, highlighting the nine-year unbeaten record at home Mourinho held until Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Sporting Gijon as an example of the Portuguese's skills. "Nine years. What a record!" Redknapp said. "I respect Jose an awful lot after what he's achieved. I wasn't surprised Inter won the Champions League last season. I thought they would win it because he was manager." Bale's return is a huge lift for Spurs given the way he ran Inter ragged in the group stages, and the searing pace he can use to his advantage tomorrow against adventurous right-back Sergio Ramos. Spurs have been beset by injuries recently, so the news that William Gallas could make a surprise return is another boost to the side. A knee injury meant that the Frenchman was unable to kick a ball on Friday, but he trained separately from his team-mates tonight and could start alongside Michael Dawson on Tuesday. Bale and Gallas' potential return is a plus-point for Redknapp, but he admits Spurs' other injury problems are a concern. "Gareth Bale is fit. He is fine. Hopefully he will have no problems training tonight and we are hoping that he is going to be fit," he said. "Steven Pienaar didn't travel because he has had a groin problem and Niko Kranjcar has a foot injury so we might only end up with six on the bench rather than seven." Tottenham's flowing attacking style has brought them 19 goals in the competition this year - a feat only matched by Tuesday's opponents - and Redknapp insists he will not tell his team to curb their attacking instincts despite the threat of Ronaldo and co. "In our team we don't have any defensive players," Redknapp said. "We have Bale, (Aaron) Lennon and (Rafael) Van der Vaart, They are attacking players. We are an attacking team and that's how we must play."


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