The Tottenham manager is struggling to come to terms with his side’s “impossible dream” after they holding AC Milan to a goalless draw at White Hart Lane to reach the quarter-finals.
Harry Redknapp revels in Spurs reaching Champions League last eight
Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, was struggling to come to terms with his side’s “impossible dream” after they held AC Milan to a goalless draw at White Hart Lane to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Spurs managed to keep out the Italian giants on a nervy evening in north London to reach the last eight having taken a 1-0 lead from the first leg thanks to Peter Crouch’s strike.
Redknapp’s team have enjoyed a remarkable debut season in the competition having beaten reigning champions Inter Milan in the group stages before seeing off the seven-time European champions over two hard-fought legs.
• Shakhtar Donetsk humble Roma to reach Champions League quarter-finals
• Barcelona advance in Champions League as Arsenal fail to stop Messi
• Spurs' Joe Jordan has a soft spot for AC Milan
• Milan are all bark, no bite without Gattuso
• Nervy Spurs hold on to send AC Milan out of Champions League
The change is a remarkable turnaround from two and a half years ago when Redknapp took over with Spurs rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.
He now faces the mouth-watering prospect of his side drawing a huge showdown with the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona in the next stage next month.
“This is an impossible dream that we have achieved so far,” he said. “Two years ago if you would have said that we would have made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, I would have thought you were crazy.
“It’s our first year in the club’s history we have ever made Champions League football so that was a fantastic achievement to have won our group and to do what we have done against AC Milan.
“We have beaten AC Milan over two legs with two clean sheets and won our group, which was the hardest of the lot.”
Spurs looked nervous at times tonight, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho both coming close to grabbing a vital away goal for the Rossoneri.
With Gareth Bale forced to settle for a place on the bench, other players such as Heurelho Gomes, Sandro and Michael Dawson shined and Redknapp was proud of his team’s performance.
“It was always going to be nervy night,” Redknapp said. “If you think you are going to smash AC Milan out of sight then obviously you haven’t been watching football over the last few years.
“Sandro was immense in midfield, for a young lad with limited experience of the Champions League. We defended for our lives and the keeper did well for us too.”
Redknapp admits Spurs fans will already dreaming of their team securing a place in the final at Wembley in two months’ time.
The 64-year-old concedes that his side could make the final but is wary of drawing Barcelona in the next round after they produced a football masterclass to see off Arsenal last night.
“I don’t know how far we can go,” the Spurs boss said. “I thought it was an amazing performance from Barcelona to beat a team who plays who are probably the best passing team in league.
“To make them look so ordinary was amazing last night. It will be difficult for anyone to beat Barcelona. They are an amazing team, but who knows.
“We are in the last eight and we have done well to get where we are and we want to stay in this competition and go as far as we can.”
Redknapp was quick to quash any notion that he and has team would be celebrating the victory hard though, saying: “I am not getting too carried away. I’m just looking forward to getting home tonight and having a cup of tea and taking the dogs out.
“It’s a great night for Tottenham but we are not going to celebrate. The players are coming in for a warm down tomorrow and they are not going to have much time to celebrate.”
Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri was disappointed to see his team fall at the last-16 stage.
“We played a good game, all we could have expected,” he said. “We didn’t score and we got punished. It leaves a bitter taste.”