Tottenham boss eyes top spot as Spurs go marching on
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp urged Spurs to win their Champions League qualifying group after watching them clinch qualification to the last 16 with a 3-0 win over Bundesliga side Werder Bremen.sports Updated: Nov 25, 2010 13:14 IST
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp urged Spurs to win their Champions League qualifying group after watching them clinch qualification to the last 16 with a 3-0 win over Bundesliga side Werder Bremen.
Goals from Younes Kaboul, Luka Modric and Peter Crouch fired Spurs into the knockout rounds at White Hart Lane, leaving Redknapp's men top of Group A with only a game against eliminated FC Twente remaining.
Redknapp said he is keen for Spurs to clinch first place ahead of second placed Inter Milan in order to avoid European big guns such as Real Madrid and Barcelona in the next round.
"We want to win the group -- you want that top spot if you can get it," Redknapp said. "It looks as though most big teams will finish top of their group so it's important if you can finish top."
Spurs are making their Champions League debut this season and Redknapp is delighted that his club have looked perfectly at home in the competition, citing emphatic earlier wins over Young Boys, Inter Milan and Twente.
"We have played some great football here. Overall it was a good night for us again. We scored four against Young Boys, four against Twente, scored three against Milan and three tonight," Redknapp said.
"We have played some great games, created some great chances and played some attractive football here.
"We have to keep going. We have players here who can play in any team. Look at Gareth Bale, he could play in any team, Modric could and so could a few others I think. We have some outstanding players here."
Goalscorer Crouch meanwhile admitted he was revelling in the service of England winger Aaron Lennon, who created two of Spurs' goals against Bremen.
"I just know that when Aaron Lennon gets the ball he's going to beat his man nine times out of 10 and get a cross in -- just have to make sure you're in the box to be on the end of it," Crouch said.
"He's a dream, as a centre-forward."
Spurs dominated a one-sided first half and were set on the road to victory after only six minutes when Bremen failed to clear a Tottenham corner.
Lennon ghosted past Daniel Jensen with ease before cutting back superbly to find Kaboul, whose downward volley kicked up off the turf and into the net.
Bale, meanwhile, was a constant thorn in the side of the Bremen defence, repeatedly stretching the German back four with his trademark surges down the left flank.
"Aaron is starting to go past people which is want we want him to do but some of the stuff Gareth did tonight was amazing," Redknapp said.
Bale almost created a second for Spurs midway through the first half, whipping in a dangerous cross that was met by Crouch, whose knockdown was scuffed off target by Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Pavlyuchenko also should have done better on 35 minutes when he was picked out by another pinpoint cross from Lennon, only to take too long to get his shot away, which allowed Bremen to block.
There was no such difficulty for Modric on the stroke of half-time, however, the diminutive Croatian midfielder controlling a Pavlyuchenko cross before volleying in from close range.
With Tottenham quickly resuming control of the second half, a third goal seemed inevitable and appeared to be in the offing when Felix Kroos bundled over Modric in the area on 54 minutes for a penalty.
Yet Bale's poor spot-kick was comfortably saved by Tim Wiese, allowing Bremen a brief respite from the onslaught.
The arrival of Jermain Defoe -- replacing Pavlyuchenko on 57 minutes -- brought one of the biggest cheers of the night, and the striker wasted no time in making an impression, forcing a fine save from Wiese with a rasping shot.
Defoe turned creator on 77 minutes, playing in Bale, whose firm low shot flew just wide of the post.
Two minutes later Spurs put the icing on a result that had never looked in doubt, when Lennon nutmegged his marker before squaring for Crouch who finished with the simplest of tap-ins from close range.
First Published: Nov 25, 2010 13:10 IST