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Tough as expected - Harry

Posted on 10 March 2011  - 12:00

Harry Redknapp said it was no surprise that AC Milan made it so tough in the second leg of our Champions League, last 16 tie at the Lane on Wednesday night.

Tough as expected - Harry

Harry Redknapp said it was no surprise that AC Milan made it so tough in the second leg of our Champions League, last 16 tie at the Lane on Wednesday night.

The team performed heroics defensively to secure a goalless draw and progress to the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition 1-0 on aggregate.

The Italian giants enjoyed the greater share of possession and pinned us back for long periods but such was our defensive organisation on the night that they struggled to carve out clear-cut chances.

Indeed, Heurelho Gomes made only three saves throughout, including just one from Robinho as Milan pushed on in the second half.

The biggest scare came in the first half when Robinho's shot deflected off Benoit Assou-Ekotto and with Gomes stranded, William Gallas got back to clear off the line.

At the other end Rafa van der Vaart, back in the team after injury, had our best efforts in the first half before Peter Crouch opted to nod across goal, rather than look for the target, in the opening minutes of the second half.

Chances were at a premium at both ends though and 0-0 proved enough for this European journey to continue into April.

"It was just what I expected – a tough, tough night," reflected Harry.

"Milan are a good side and you can see why they are such a great club with that tradition of winning trophies.

"I said to the players before the game ‘let’s get after them’ but we found it difficult to get the ball for long spells.

"They narrowed up the midfield, played with a diamond formation whereas we want to play with width and we kept getting outnumbered in the middle of the park.

"They kept the ball and Seedorf was amazing. It was difficult to get close to them at times but you have to remember we were playing AC Milan, they are top of their league, they’ve lost three games all season.

"We worked hard to stay in contact with them because of the way they played.

"I thought Sandro was fantastic in midfield, the centre-halves defended for their lives and Gomes did well, he took pressure off us and caught crosses when he had to.

"We had to defend for long spells but we did it. We got a clean sheet and that was important.

"We’re a team that usually scores goals and can let them in, but I would certainly have taken 0-0 before the game. It was enough to put us through."