Redknapp salutes Spurs' spirit
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp admitted his League Cup holders looked “dead and buried” before scoring deep into extra-time to see off Burnley in a dramatic semifinal.
Second-tier Burnley, 3-0 up in the second leg after the end of 90 minutes, were on the brink of a dramatic win overall on the away goals rule after losing 4-1 at White Hart Lane a fortnight ago, when, in the 118th minute Roman Pavlyuchenko scored from close range to the despair of home fans at Turf Moor.
Defoe then put the matter beyond doubt to give Tottenham the chance of winning back-to-back League Cups when they face Manchester United at Wembley on March 1.
“I thought we were dead and buried,” Redknapp told Sky Sports after a 6-4 aggregate win.
“You’re thinking ‘what do we do?’. But we showed character and we came back. I was disappointed [with the performance] of course.
“Burnley were terrific, they showed great character, but we’ve had some great performances [in the League Cup], beating Liverpool, and we deserve to be there.”
Redknapp, who will now have the chance to be a Wembley winner two seasons running after guiding Portsmouth to FA Cup glory last year, added he was disappointed by the response of some members of his struggling Premier League side to Wednesday’s signing of Honduras midfielder Wilson Palacios from Wigan.
The former West Ham boss believes Palacios is just the man Spurs, only above the relegation zone on goal difference, need to kick-start their climb away from the bottom of the table.
“That’s what I need, that’s why I bought him [Palacios]. They should be fighting for their lives to stay at a great club like Tottenham.
“Their futures are on the line, some of them,” added Redknapp who denied reports he made a bid to sign Chelsea reserve goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.
With one final guaranteed, Redknapp made it clear he would rest key men for Tottenham’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
“I’m really going to send a real mismatched side up there,” he said.
“We’ve played extra-time tonight [Wednesday] and we’re out on our feet. I can’t afford any more injuries.”
Meanwhile, proud Burnley manager Owen Coyle urged his side to use this match as a springboard for their bid to gain promotion to the Premier League.
The Clarets are just outside the play-off places in the Championship but the Lancashire club have given their fans a tantalising sight of what they can do against top-flight opposition by knocking Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal out of this season’s League Cup.
They so nearly inflicted similar embarrassment upon Spurs after goals from Robbie Blake, Chris McCann and Jay Rodridguez took Burnley to the brink of a first League Cup final appearance.
“It’s gut-wrenching,” said Coyle, whose team were 100/1 outsiders to reach the final after their first-leg loss.
“No one gave us a chance beforehand but we believed we could score the first goal and make it a game to remember and we did that.
“All credit to the players, they were magnificent and they should be walking out very proud of the performance they gave.
“It’s not always the better side that wins. I’m disappointed for them but we’ve got a big season in the Championship so we have to dust ourselves down and come back stronger.”
Man-of-the-match Blake added: “We worked so hard to get in the game and we deserved to be 3-0 ahead. But they’re class players and they punished tired legs at the end.”.—Sapa-AFP