Harry Redknapp admitted to thinking ‘anything could happen’ when Shamrock Rovers opened the scoring before we hit back for a 3-1 win in Thursday night’s Europa League encounter.
It was one-way traffic in the first half as we created chance after chance but couldn’t find a way past the Republic of Ireland champions.
The woodwork denied Jermain Defoe and Danny Rose, goalkeeper Richard Brush made a number of fine saves and Stephen O’Donnell cleared Roman Pavlyuchenko’s header off the line.
The game was turned on its head five minutes into the second half when Stephen Rice flicked home Patrick Sullivan's shot after Carlo Cudicini parried away Gary McCabe’s free-kick.
You still felt that a first goal would get us back on track and it arrived on the hour when Pavlyuchenko headed home Giovani’s cross.
We were ahead two minutes later when Defoe converted Andros Townsend’s centre and 3-1 up with a third goal inside six minutes as Defoe won possession and ran fully 70 yards before setting-up Giovani.
With 24 attempts on goal and 67 per cent of possession, it was no less than the performance deserved as we moved onto four points in Group A.
“No disrespect to Shamrock Rovers, they were excellent, but we could have been three or four up by half-time,” reflected Harry.
“I couldn't have asked for any more from the players than what they did in the first half.
“We hit the crossbar, the keeper made some great saves and we kept opening them up, we just couldn't get a break in front of goal.
“I thought at half-time the lads had done great, I had no problems with that. I was delighted with the performance even though there were no goals.
“We then conceded from their first real sight of goal and suddenly you think 'anything can happen'.
“They're a good side, well-organised and once they got one up I thought it could be difficult game but the attitude was great and we got the goals.
“Shamrock were a real credit. Michael (O’Neill, manager) has got them playing some fantastic football. They were well-organised, determined and they made it difficult.
“I was delighted with the lads, they all showed a great attitude. I thought we were excellent.”