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Harry's programme notes

Posted on 4 March 2009  - 12:00

As part of our pre-match build-up to home matches, we publish Harry Redknapp's programme notes straight from our official matchday programme.

Harry's programme notes

As part of our pre-match build-up to home matches, we publish Harry Redknapp's programme notes straight from our official matchday programme.

You can buy individual copies of the programme online by CLICKING HERE...

HARRY'S NOTES v MIDDLESBROUGH, MARCH 4

I could not have asked for any more from the lads in Sunday's League Cup final. They did the Club proud with their performance on the day but just could not get that break in front of goal that we needed and probably deserved.

We got ourselves into some great situations and in the closing minutes I thought we were going to win it but Ben Foster got his legs in the way of Darren Bent's effort. He was the busier of the two goalkeepers for sure, forced into making the more vital saves over the course of the match and that is why he walked away with the Man of the Match award.

We started with an attacking line up. There is no point going to Wembley and not having a go and I thought our players did themselves justice by putting in a terrific performance.

Make no mistake about it, Manchester United wanted to win as badly as we did. Two of their younger players may have started the game but I knew that if things were not going their way Alex Ferguson would bring on the likes of Ryan Giggs and Nemanja Vidic and that is exactly what happened.

I thought they had their best spell following the introduction of Anderson when they changed to a 4-5-1 formation. We started to get overrun in midfield and Paul Scholes was getting the ball under no pressure. We responded by dropping Luka Modric in behind in order to get around Scholes when we lost the ball and I felt that got us right back into the game again.

Penalty shoot-outs are a lottery in the end and United won the lottery. You have to give credit to the players who were willing to step up and take our spot-kicks because they showed great character.


Harry's notes
United have got some extremely confident penalty takers - that is how they won the Champions League last season and also the Community Shield in the summer when I was manager of Portsmouth. They scored all five that day, but that is how it goes.

For me it is not about penalties, it is about playing football and over the 120 minutes we were every bit as good against the best team in Europe, and we have got to be proud of our players for that.

Manchester United will take some beating with that quality of squad and there is a good chance they could walk away with the lot this year.

I thought the team that went out against Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday turned in a fantastic performance. They all worked hard and gave everything. Their coach Mircea Lucescu even said to me after the match that they had been fortunate to win the tie and they were to be fair.

It was a great boost for some of the young lads to get the chance to run out at White Hart Lane and the likes of Jon Obika, Dean Parrett and John Bostock will be able to take that experience into tomorrow night's FA Youth Cup quarter-final against Arsenal.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of the youngsters in action again and I am sure many of you will be back here tomorrow night to show your support.

This evening we welcome Middlesbrough to White Hart Lane.

Gareth Southgate's side have picked up a couple of good results in the past week. They played well and beat West Ham in the FA Cup last week and followed that up with a great win against Liverpool in the Premier League at the weekend so they are starting to hit form.

It is another important game for us but we are in good form as well particularly after our win against Hull City and our performance in the final on Sunday. Our home form has been fantastic since I arrived, having only lost once in 15 games, so we are looking forward to tonight.

I can freshen up the side with one or two new faces that were unavailable Sunday and the confidence is good. There is no question of the team needing lifting, I think they feel very upbeat about the way they played in the final and rightly so.

The First Team group have been showing top half form since I have been here and I am determined to take that into the remainder of this season and beyond. I want to build a team here that will be terrific for this club in the long run and guide us back up the league where we belong.

I hope you all have a good evening.