Redknapp turns focus on Tottenham players

Harry Redknapp insists it is Tottenham's players and not him who have it all to prove in the Champions League, despite his own lack of experience in the competition.

Spurs face Werder Bremen tonight in what is both their first match in the European Cup proper for almost half a century and manager Redknapp's first match ever at this level.

And although many of his players have played in the continent's premier club competition for other teams, Redknapp insists it is their reputations on the line rather than his.

"I don't go through my life thinking I've got to prove anything to anybody," said the 63-year-old, who took Tottenham from the relegation zone to fourth spot in the Barclays Premier League in less than two years.

"I proved what I could do by getting them into fourth place from where we were.

"My record has not been too shabby.

"I never think I've got anything to prove."

He added: "It's the players who have got prove it. I can only put them out there and pick the team.

"You haven't got to be a rocket scientist to pick the team.

"It's whether they can go out there and cope under pressure.

"We've got enough international players - we're full of internationals."

Redknapp did acknowledge he was bound to learn something himself from his Champions League group stage debut, having already admitted he got his tactics wrong in the play-off round first leg at Young Boys.

But he pointed out even Sir Alex Ferguson finds himself at the mercy of his players, citing Manchester United's capitulation from 3-1 up to draw 3-3 at Everton on Saturday.

"You never stop learning, do you?" Redknapp said.

"I'm sure Fergie learns all the time.

"You're sitting 3-1 up at Everton with two minutes to go.

"It doesn't matter if you're Alex Ferguson or who you are, there's nothing you can do."

Redknapp admitted assuming Spurs would "murder" Young Boys in Bern before they found themselves 3-0 down and is therefore ready to ditch his trusty 4-4-2 formation away from home in Europe.

"If we play 4-4-2 (against Bremen), I think we'll be committing suicide," said Redknapp, who used Saturday's 1-1 draw at West Brom as a dress rehearsal for a 4-5-1 line-up.

Redknapp revealed he would pick his "best" available XI tonight but that looks unlikely to include Luka Modric, who is still suffering pain in the leg he injured at the Hawthorns.

Rafael van der Vaart and William Gallas should keep their places, despite feeling the exertions of their Spurs debuts on Saturday.

Unlike many of their team-mates, the duo boast vast Champions League experience and Redknapp believes the squad he now has at his disposal is capable of getting through Group A, something he would consider a successful first season in the competition.

"My dread was going out in the qualifier," he added.

Bremen boss Thomas Schaaf refused to read anything into Redknapp's confession about the Young Boys game.

"I think Harry Redknapp is an excellent coach and he also has a great deal of experience," he said.

"We had to undergo a couple of qualification matches ourselves and they can be nerve-wracking."

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