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Cologne 14:00 Stoke

Boss lauds Crouch strike

Pompey boss sings players' praises after 'great performance'.

By Elliot Ball.   Last Updated: 05/10/08 10:08pm

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Redknapp: Delighted

Redknapp: Delighted

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Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp described Peter Crouch's bicycle kick as one of the best goals he has ever seen.

Pompey ran out 2-1 winners against Stoke on Sunday and the Fratton Park faithful witnessed a stunning overhead kick from Crouch.

The opener will surely go down as one of the goals of the season as Redknapp was quick to praise the England forward's finish.

"It was a wonderful goal from Peter Crouch," Redknapp told Sky Sports.

"That was one of the best goals I've ever seen. The technique for the volley was fantastic."

Traore

Although the strike duo of Crouch and Defoe will grab the headlines for scoring the goals, on loan Armand Traore gained the plaudits for an outstanding performance in left midfield.

The Arsenal player, who is at Portsmouth on a season-long loan, terrorised the Stoke defence at will and the work rate of the 18-year-old certainly raised eyebrows.

And the Pompey boss was also keen to praise the young starlet.

"He was a threat today, him and little Belhadj at left back. To have them two coming at you is a nightmare."

Asked on whether Redknapp will try to sign the talented Frenchman on a permanent deal, he said: "I wouldn't think we have got a chance of that, he's another young player at Arsenal.

"I think it's a great experience for him to come and play here and it's great of Arsenal to let him come on loan.

"He needed the experience and he's loving every minute of it. He's playing regular so it's great.

Delap

Portsmouth were tested by a powerful Stoke side, after conceding early in the second half to Ricardo Fuller from a Rory Delap throw-in.

And Redknapp admitted his side struggled to cope with Stoke set-piece specialist.

"It's a nightmare, I don't know how you deal with it, it's so difficult.

"We're a big side - we have big Crouch and Diop in front, but the ball comes in at such a trajectory it's so difficult to deal with.

"It's like defending 15 to 20 corners a game eventually they are going to break the gap at some stage."

Fitness

Saturday's win caps a remarkable week for the Seaside outfit and Redknapp praised the fitness of his players.

"Yes it's been a terrific week, starting with the great win against Tottenham, and a great result in Portugal.

"Today I thought they were fantastic, the slick football we played the way we moved the ball the way passed the ball was top class.

"You worry about one or two of them (after the Uefa Cup clash), but they recovered.

"Sol Campbell was magnificent and Sylvain (Distin) along side him felt tired on Thursday but recovered and pulled it out today and it was a great performance."

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