Harry favours foreign foes
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp admits he would rather steer clear of an English rival in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 10/03/11 1:38pm
Harry Redknapp admits he would rather steer clear of an English rival in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Spurs booked their place in the last eight on Wednesday after securing a 1-0 aggregate victory over Italian giants AC Milan.
A gritty defensive display at White Hart Lane saw them through, with a goalless draw on home soil all they needed to progress.
Attention can now turn to the next stage, with Spurs having enjoyed a remarkable debut campaign in Europe's premier club competition.
There is a chance they could be paired with a fellow Premier League side in the last eight, should Manchester United and Chelsea join them in the quarter-finals, but Redknapp claims he would prefer to face foreign opposition.
On the prospect of an all-English draw, he told Sky Sports News: "It would be great. It would be exciting. I would rather not, but you can't pick who you draw.
"When the draw was made for the group stages we were in a group with Inter Milan, the holders, Werder Bremen and FC Twente, the Dutch champions. For me, that was probably the toughest group of the lot. It was the group of death, almost, but we won that group.
"You can't choose who you play. Whoever you get you have to get on with it. It will be a fantastic game whoever we draw, if it's Barcelona or anybody."
Barcelona put paid to Arsenal's Champions League dream on Tuesday and Redknapp admits the Catalan outfit are the strongest side on the continent right now.
He said: "I thought they were amazing the other night. Credit where credit is due. OK, Arsenal had a man sent off and who knows what would have happened if [Robin] Van Persie hadn't gone, but you have to look at the whole game and for them to outclass a team like Arsenal, who play fantastic football and pass the ball as well as any team in the Premier League, it was an amazing performance.
"They are a team as good as any team I have seen during my time in football. They are the team to beat this year for any team looking to win the Champions League. But who knows, we are in the last eight and we will look forward to the last eight."
Redknapp has also played down any fears regarding Rafael van der Vaart's fitness, with the Dutchman having been replaced after 66 minutes against Milan.
He said: "He's OK. He wasn't injured. He hasn't played, Rafa, for quite a while now, Blackburn away was his last game.
"I felt we needed some fresh legs in midfield and Jermaine Jenas came on and gave us that. Gareth Bale gave us that as well. It was just a technical change.
"Rafa has been great since he's been here, he's a fantastic footballer, but he understands that you have to win football matches. We got though so he accepts any decisions that are made."