Redknapp rails against pitch as injuries strike

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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp's dislike of artificial pitches has been intensified by the prospect of losing midfielder Luka Modric and striker Jermain Defoe for the league game at Stoke City on Saturday because of injuries sustained in Spurs' 3-2 defeat by Young Boys Berne on Tuesday.

Both players suffered groin strains on a surface Redknapp believes should not be used for the Champions League. A minimum of £20m hangs on qualifying for the group stage, which Spurs are narrow favourites to do after recovering from letting in three goals in 28 minutes.

"I had to take Luka off at half-time and then Jermain in the second half," Redknapp said. "They must both be doubtful for Saturday." In fact their replacements Niko Kranjcar and Robbie Keane played a significant part in Tottenham's recovery but the Spurs squad appeared to have been spooked by the surface after training on it the night before the game. "I had a nasty feeling, watching the players [training] on the pitch and saw they were not happy about this and that," Redknapp said.

Having already decided that Ledley King's knee would not stand up to the surface, he made three more changes. Tom Huddlestone, Aaron Lennon and Peter Crouch were all left out but Huddlestone had to be summoned before half-time to stiffen the midfield. Crouch is likely to return on Saturday at the Britannia Stadium.

Uefa rules have permitted artificial surfaces for the past five years, although the final must be played on grass.