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Big win, great week

Harry Redknapp paid tribute to the lads after turning things around to beat Villa 2-1 on Saturday.

Harry Redknapp paid tribute to the lads after turning things around to beat Villa 2-1 on Saturday.

Villa started impressively and went ahead after 16 minutes when Emile Heskey got the better of Sebastien Bassong before squaring for Marc Albrighton to slide home.

They proved a tough nut to crack in the first half but we started to create openings and grabbed a vital equaliser in added time as Peter Crouch headed across goal for Rafael van der Vaart to head home at the far post.

Harry changed things around at half-time, introduced Aaron Lennon for Roman Pavlyuchenko and switched from a 4-4-2 to a 4-4-1-1 system with van der Vaart playing off Crouch.

It worked a treat as we were better side in the second half and grabbed the winner in the 76th minute with the same combination, Crouch nodding down Lennon's cross for man-of-the-moment van der Vaart to smash home.

"This was always going to be a very difficult game," said Harry.

"Villa are a team with quality, a good balance and good players throughout. They will be a danger to everyone this season. They'll be right up there again.

"They played their part in an open, attacking game and both teams went for it.

"They went 1-0 up and to be fair, we were hanging in there at times in the first half. They looked very dangerous, quick on the break and we looked a bit open.

"We got the break with a goal right on half-time and that brought us back into the game. That gave us a big lift.

"I changed things around at half-time. Even though we had scored, I just didn't like the balance of the side. We looked too open and the shape wasn't right.

"I decided to sacrifice Pav at half-time, he'd done nothing wrong and had a great week for us, but I wanted to play van der Vaart in behind Crouchy, brought on Aaron Lennon and we then had a nice shape to us and looked more dangerous.

"It worked well. We looked the better team in the second half.

"It's finished a great week for us. Okay. We lost at West Ham last weekend but we've come back with two big wins against FC Twente and after going behind against Villa. It was a big result for us."

Meanwhile, Harry was pleased with the performance of Tom Huddlestone after Ledley King failed a late fitness test on a groin problem.

"Tom did a great job for us," he added. "It's a tough job for any centre-half to have to deal with the likes of Heskey and Carew but Tom and Sebastien Bassong did well in their first game together."