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Harry's programme notes

Posted on 18 December 2008  - 12:00

As part of our pre-match build-up for home games, we'll publish Harry Redknapp's column direct from our official matchday programme.

Harry's programme notes

As part of our pre-match build-up for home games, we'll publish Harry Redknapp's column direct from our official matchday programme.

HARRY'S NOTES v SPARTAK MOSCOW, UEFA CUP, DECEMBER 18

Last Saturday was another huge game for us against Manchester United. You always want to win your home games but any time you can take a point off United is a fantastic result because they are such a good side.

We lost Ledley King before kick-off and then Jonathan Woodgate really early into the game. When you lose your two centre-halves you know you are in for a tough night but the lads worked their socks off and showed great character and attitude to come through.

Michael Dawson turned in a fantastic performance and Vedran Corluka, who moved to centre-half from right-back, was also outstanding - the pair did a great job for us. Didier Zokora went to right-back and he did well up against Ronaldo, while Heurelho Gomes pulled off some excellent saves. It was a close game but everyone played their part to ensure we came away with something for our efforts.

We go into tonight's fixture against Spartak Moscow in a strong position in our UEFA Cup group.

Our 1-0 win in Nijmegen three weeks ago kept us in second place in Group D and had Spartak held their lead at home against NEC in the previous round of fixtures, we would already be joining Udinese in the next round.

Had that been the case it would have been a great opportunity to blood some of the younger players to see what they are made of tonight, though there will certainly be changes made because the games are coming thick and fast at the moment.

We want to progress in the UEFA Cup because we want to go into 2009 still competing on all fronts.

This evening's round of UEFA Cup group fixtures will mark the end of the competition in its current format as it enters the knockout phase, before it becomes the UEFA Europa League from next year.

I prefer the knockout over two legs as the UEFA Cup in its current format drags the whole thing out and with the schedule as it is in England we have to play Thursday, Sunday, Thursday on a regular basis. I do think it is a bit too much at present especially when we also have the League Cup to contend with.

We welcome Michael Laudrup and his team to White Hart Lane this evening. As a player Michael was absolutely fantastic as well as an incredible sportsman who was a real credit to the game, while as a coach he has already enjoyed good moments with Brondby in Denmark and in Spain with Getafe, who I can recall watching when they came to White Hart Lane at this same stage last season with Michael in charge.

Spartak's domestic league campaign may have ended last month but I am sure they will arrive here bright and sharp having played a game against Chelsea on Saturday. Much has been made of Chelsea hosting Spartak during their stay in England but if a club asks you whether they can play a game at your training ground you wouldn't say no.

These days the Russian league contains a high volume of top players from around the world so we are fully aware that we are in for a difficult encounter tonight, they will certainly be a danger.

Finally, as we will not be back at the Lane now until Boxing Day, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas. I hope everybody stays safe and sound over the festive period and if you do go out for a drink, leave the car at home.

Harry's notes