Harry Redknapp launched a stinging criticism of his Tottenham team last night, accusing them of being "lethargic" in their 2-0 Carling Cup quarter-final capitulation to Manchester United and playing the game "like it was a practice match".
The Tottenham manager even dispatched his assistant Kevin Bond to do the post-match press conference in his place because, as Bond said, "Harry doesn't want to say something he might regret".
Redknapp's side conceded two first-half goals from Darron Gibson and despite a bright performance in the first 45 minutes they crumbled after the break. Redknapp told Sky Sports: "We dominated in the first half, but came in 2-0 down. They had two shots on goal and scored twice. I was disappointed because we have been playing so well.
"There was no atmosphere in the stadium. It was like a practice match and it was played at a real lethargic pace. We didn't make a tackle in the first half. That's how the game was. I've never been to Old Trafford and seen an atmosphere like this. The thing never got going.
"It was a cup quarter-final, but it was flat. There was not a tackle in the first half. No-one made a tackle. It was like a friendly game. I don't know why it was like that, I really don't know."
Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, promised to stick with his young players in the Carling Cup semi-finals as they defend the trophy they won last year. He praised Gibson who, despite signing a new contract until 2012 in the summer, was making only his second start of the season last night.
Ferguson said: "Gibson did very well, I thought his second goal in particular was fantastic. The movement and the working off the ball from the players was good and it was a terrific finish. He's the one player now at our club who can get a goal from outside the box – he has tremendous power in his shooting."
Gibson said: "It's probably one of my best nights, scoring twice, but it was a good team performance all over after last week. We were disappointed to have lost, but I think we have bounced back and the young lads have done well.
"In a way we did, but we didn't go out of our way to try and prove anything," he added. "We just played our normal game and it came off. Sometimes you have bad days, but this was a good day and we showed what we can do."