Spurs will take Bernabeu in their stride


MADRID, (Reuters) – Champions League debutants  Tottenham Hotspur will not be intimidated by Real Madrid or their  imposing Bernabeu stadium when they square up in today’s  quarter-final first leg, manager Harry Redknapp said.

The English Premier League club’s 1-0 victory over AC Milan  at the equally daunting San Siro in February will help the  players cope with the atmosphere at Real’s giant arena, Redknapp  said in an interview with Spanish sports daily Marca published  on Sunday.

“We already played very well at an historic stadium like the  San Siro against a great team like Milan,” said Redknapp, as  Tottenham seek to spring a surprise on their first appearance in  the modern version of Europe’s elite club competition.

Harry Redknapp

“Logically, we know we’ll have to be at 100 percent in  Madrid for the whole game, which will be very tough, but we are  going without fear.”

Peter Crouch scored the only goal in the last-16, first leg  victory over Milan, which was enough to see Tottenham through to  the quarter-finals and came after Gareth Bale netted a stunning  hat-trick against the Serie A side’s city rivals Inter in a 4-3  defeat in the group stage in October.

“I hope we can give them (Real) a big surprise,” Redknapp  told Marca. “It’s a great day for us and I won’t need to  motivate the players much, they are all raring to go.”

Tottenham are contesting the European champion clubs’  competition for only the second time following their debut half  a century ago.

Nine-times winners Real are through to the last eight for  the first time in seven seasons and could face La Liga rivals  Barcelona in the semi-finals if they get past Tottenham and  Barca eliminate Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine.

Ronaldo risk

Real and Tottenham have both been hit by injuries and a  question mark still hangs over whether the Spanish club’s  Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo will have recovered from a  thigh strain in time to feature.

Mourinho said on Saturday after Real’s shock 1-0 defeat at  home to Sporting Gijon he may risk his compatriot. In-form  striker Karim Benzema, who injured himself on duty with France,  would not make the squad, he added.

“Do you really think he (Ronaldo) won’t play?” Redknapp said  in Marca. “I don’t. Ronaldo is a fantastic player and I think  he’ll play.”

Tottenham have a defensive crisis and right back Alan Hutton  joined the growing injury list on Sunday when he was ruled out  for the rest of the season with a knee problem.

Also on the list of absentees are Ledley King, who needs a  groin operation, former Real player Jonathan Woodgate (calf) and  Younes Kaboul (thigh), while William Gallas (knee) is doubtful.

Vedran Corluka is likely to start at right back with  Sebastien Bassong partnering Michael Dawson in central defence.

Midfielder Bale, who has been battling a hamstring injury,  should at the least be included in the squad, Redknapp said on  the club’s website (www.tottenhamhotspur.com).

“Gareth is okay, not too bad, he’s got a chance. He should  be fit.”

Dribbling ability

Emmanuel Adebayor, on loan at Real from Manchester City  until the end of the season and who will likely start if Benzema  is unavailable, said the towering Crouch could cause problems  for the home defence today.

“Peter Crouch is not that quick, but he’s very tall,” the  Togolese said on Real’s website (www.realmadrid.com).

“He is taller than me. He’s got a dribbling ability that  makes it seem like he does things in slow motion.

“He is very good in the air. I believe he will be the most  troublesome for the team.”

Spurs and Real have met just once before in a competitive  European match, in the 1984-85 UEFA Cup. The Spaniards won 1-0  in the quarter-final first leg in London before drawing 0-0 in  Madrid in the return.

Possible Teams:

Real: 1-Iker Casillas; 4-Sergio Ramos, 2-Ricardo Carvalho,  3-Pepe, 17-Alvaro Arbeloa; 14-Xabi Alonso, 24-Sami Khedira;  22-Angel Di Maria, 23-Mesut Ozil, 7-Cristiano Ronaldo;  6-Emmanuel Adebayor.

Tottenham: 1-Heurelho Gomes; 22-Vedran Corluka, 19-Sebastien  Bassong, 20-Michael Dawson, 32-Benoit Assou-Ekotto; 3-Gareth  Bale, 14-Luka Modric, 30-Sandro, 7-Aaron Lennon; 11-Rafael Van  der Vaart; 15-Peter Crouch.

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany).

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