Harry Redknapp wasn’t surprised to see us pushed all the way by Rubin Kazan on Thursday night.
The Russian side have a fine recent European pedigree – they’ve played in the Champions League for the last three season – and showed what they are all about in a hard-fought Europa League encounter at the Lane.
In the end, Roman Pavlyuchenko’s free-kick thunderbolt in the 34th minute was good enough for a 1-0 win and to send us top of Group A. PAOK beat Shamrock Rovers 2-1 in Thursday night's other group match.
Rubin put us under pressure, especially in the second half, and forced Heurelho Gomes into three fine saves. Obafemi Martins also headed wide from close range.
“They are a good side, exactly what I expected and it was a great result for us,” reflected Harry.
“I thought it was important that we won this game because we know how difficult it will be at their place.
“It was always going to be tough. You only have to look at their recent record, they beat Barcelona and six or seven of the players were in that team.
“They are technically very, very good. We had to hang in there a little at the end but overall, I was well pleased. I thought it was a good performance.
“Tom Carroll was excellent again and it’s great to see one or two of those younger lads getting minutes on the pitch and progressing.
“Jake Livermore played centre-half for us, he’s a midfielder but he adapted well.
“I didn’t want to play both Younes Kaboul and Seb Bassong and risk them before Blackburn on Sunday. Jake came in and did well against a good team. He’s a great lad, great attitude.”