Harry - No blame for Benoit
Harry Redknapp did not blame Benoit Assou-Ekotto for making Spurs work hard for a win over Stoke.
Last Updated: 20/03/10 7:43pm
Harry Redknapp did not blame Benoit Assou-Ekotto for making Tottenham's victory over 10-man Stoke more difficult that it should have been.
The Spurs boss saw his side reinforce their hold on fourth place in the Premier League with a 2-1 win at the Britannia Stadium as substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen and Niko Kranjcar scored either side of Matthew Etherington's penalty.
Stoke earned the spot-kick after Assou-Ekotto had brought down Dave Kitson, with the incident coming immediately in the wake of a strange shoving match between the Spurs full-back and team-mate Vedran Corluka.
But having watched the penalty on a replay, Redknapp does not believe that his Cameroon international committed a definite foul inside the 18-yard area.
"I thought it was a bit harsh looking at it again," the Tottenham manager told Sky Sports.
"At the time I was disappointed with Benoit for the challenge, but I looked at it again four or five times and it was one of those that sometimes you get and sometimes you don't."
Redknapp added on the flair-up between Assou-Ekotto and Corluka: "I haven't seen what happened but they've probably just had a row. They probably didn't understand each other. I don't think there was much in it really."
The Spurs boss instead poured praise on former Chelsea star Gudjohnsen as the Iceland international, a winter loan signing from Monaco, scored his first goal since leaving Barcelona last summer.
The striker could now be in line to start in Wednesday's FA Cup quarter-final replay with Fulham as Jermain Defoe has a tear in his hamstring and Roman Pavlyuchenko sustained an injury at the Britannia Stadium.
Pavlyuchenko was substituted after picking up a hamstring problem and Gudjohnsen entered the match as a result, but Redknapp will not be overly concerned.
"I am glad we have got him (Gudjohnsen) because every day he comes into training and he is worth watching. Believe you me, he is a fantastic footballer. Technically he is top drawer," eulogised the Spurs chief.
"You don't play for Chelsea and Barcelona if you are not a great player. He is a fantastic footballer in my opinion and he has just been unlucky that Jermain has been scoring and Pavlyuchenko has come in and scored and Peter (Crouch) had done a great job."
Stoke had been reduced to 10 men by referee Mike Dean shortly after Gudjohnsen put Spurs in front in the early stages of the second half as Dean Whitehead received a second booking.
Redknapp felt the red card was cruel, saying: "I thought it was a bit harsh, he was on a yellow card. I would have been disappointed if one of my players had been sent off for that."