Redknapp calls for all-out attack to earn Spurs European prize

The opportunity presented to Tottenham Hotspur tonight has been 49 years in the making, as manager Harry Redknapp knows only too well because he was a teenager in the crowd the last time his club dined at Europe's top table.

Redknapp was a 14-year-old schoolboy on the books at Spurs when he joined the thousands to watch Tottenham's first ever European Cup tie at White Hart Lane, in which Bill Nicholson's Double-winners recorded a remarkable 8-1 demolition of Polish champions Gornik Zabrze.

His memory of the night is understandably a little sketchy. "I remember Bobby Smith battering the Polish goalkeeper and then winning by about seven," Redknapp said yesterday.

The sentiment of that kind of football lives on in Redknapp's current team, particularly when he says he will send his team out tonight against Young Boys of Bern with the instruction to "swarm all over them from the start".

"I wouldn't say we have to be patient, we've got to get after them," Redknapp said. "It's important to get after them early, to set them back. We have to move the ball, play with pace, press them, put them under pressure."

Back in 1961, the Tottenham side that night had to overcome a 4-2 deficit from the first leg; Redknapp's task is only slightly easier as his task is to come from 3-2 behind.

The objective tonight will be simply to overwhelm the unheralded Swiss side, both with the noise inside White Hart Lane and the intensity of Tottenham's high-tempo football. Redknapp recalled the special atmosphere inside the Lane when the giants of Europe visited in the 1961-62 season, when he saw Spurs reach the semi-finals only to lose to defending European champions Benfica. "They were great nights, great atmospheres. We want the same European nights here," Redknapp said.

Tottenham did the hard work last season, with wins at the end of the season over Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City that earned them fourth place. Their work seemed to have been for nought as they fell 3-0 down to the Swiss side a week ago, only to fight back to 3-2. That shock was attributed by Redknapp to the Swiss side's plastic pitch, but he accepts there will be no excuse if they fail having been given a second bite of the cherry.

"I knew before the game it would be a tough night," Redknapp said. "We went 3-0 down and you could see 4-0, 5-0, 6-0. But we got a couple of goals back and got out of jail. We are at home and we are a fantastic team when we play well at home. If we play as we can play it will be very, very difficult not to win. If we can't win we don't deserve to be in the competition. It is a test for us."

The prize for Tottenham is a place in the group stages of the Champions League, worth around £23m, and the possibility they might come out of the hat against someone like Real Madrid or Barcelona. The other side of the coin is that elimination would be an enormous blow, given the way they battled for fourth place last season.

Tottenham only have to look to the example of Everton five seasons ago to see what can happen if you spurn the golden opportunity. They lost their play-off to Villarreal and they never quite recovered from the blow, finishing the season 11th in the Premier League.

The players are keen to kill off suggestions they lost their nerve in Switzerland a week ago. Striker Jermain Defoe, who is to undergo groin surgery next week, said nerves will not be a consideration. "I don't understand why people say we bottle it. Who's going to bottle it? Look at the players we have got," Defoe said. "A lot were at the World Cup in the summer and those who didn't are full internationals.

"There are no nerves. It's like when you are young and your mum buys you your first pair of boots before your first game. You're buzzing to be out there. That's what I feel like. On Tuesday nights you don't want to be at home watching EastEnders – you want to be at White Hart Lane playing fantastic teams."

Progress would also be a huge personal achievement for Redknapp, the pinnacle of his coaching career at the age of 63. Only four other Englishmen have managed teams in the Champions League proper – Sir Bobby Robson with Porto and Newcastle United, Steve McClaren at FC Twente, Ray Harford with Blackburn Rovers and Howard Wilkinson at Leeds United.

Redknapp is understood to still be chasing Seville's Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano, despite the Tottenham manager's claim yesterday that a deal is not imminent. Reports in Spain last night suggested Seville are close to a deal to sell the 29-year-old to Tottenham for around £14m. The transfer depends on Spurs reaching the group stages of the Champions League, however.

Head-to-head...

Roman Pavlyuchenko v Ammar Jemal

Pavlyuchenko's late goal has kept Tottenham alive in the tie, and the Russian, who has some Champions League experience with Spartak Moscow, should be preferred ahead of the injured Jermain Defoe. Jemal, the Tunisian centre-half, coped well in the first leg but playing at a noisy White Hart Lane could be a very different proposition.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto v David Degen

The Tottenham left-back was given a terrible runaround by Swiss international Degen in last week's first leg, but will hope the boot is on the other foot tonight. Degen, 27, looks the part and is big and strong, but Assou-Ekotto has a personal score to settle.

Tom Huddlestone v Xavier Hochstrasser

Huddlestone has had the look of a Champions League player for years, but if Spurs are to progress Big Tom must get the better of Young Boys' young holding midfielder Hochstrasser, 22, who impressed in the first leg and scored the Swiss side's third goal in the first leg.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
News
Rainbow List
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVMost of the performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker