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First class

Posted on 28 January 2009  - 12:00

Harry Redknapp was happy to reflect on a superb first half display that did all the damage in Tuesday night's 3-1 win against Stoke.

First class

Harry Redknapp was happy to reflect on a superb first half display that did all the damage in Tuesday night's 3-1 win against Stoke.

All three goals arrived in that first half, arguably our best 45 minutes of the Premier League campaign.

Aaron Lennon handed us the perfect start with a fine finish for 1-0 in the eighth minute and quickfire goals from Jermain Defoe and Michael Dawson in the space of four minutes midway through the half put us in complete control.

Luka Modric pulled the strings as Defoe saw another effort cleared off the line while David Bentley, Modric and Roman Pavlyuchenko all went close.

Chances were few and far between in the second half and Stoke recovered to pull a goal back through James Beattie but were denied any real spell of pressure as we maintained possession.

It was a key win and the three points lifted us up from 16th to 13th place in the table.

"I thought we were terrific," beamed Harry. "The first half was great. We passed the ball, opened them up and we could have come in five up, we were that dominant.

"I thought we passed the ball well, kept it and Luka Modric was fantastic, he ran the game for us.

"All I said to the players was 'don't foul or give away free-kicks'. Without being disrespectful, there was no way they were going to hurt us in general play. The only way they were going to hurt us was from a long throw-in, free-kick or corner.

"Suddenly in the second half we turned the ball over and it was 3-1 and they are dangerous, especially from those set-pieces, but we kept the ball again after that.

"We looked strong and it was a better all-round performance, more like what we expect."