Justice done - Harry
Harry Redknapp said it would have been an 'injustice' if we'd come away from Newcastle with no reward for our efforts.
Harry Redknapp said it would have been an 'injustice' if we’d come away from Newcastle with no reward for our efforts.
Thankfully that wasn’t the case as Aaron Lennon struck in the first minute of four minutes’ added time to secure a 1-1 draw and a well-deserved point at St James Park.
Trailing 1-0 to Fabricio Coloccini’s fine strike on the hour, Harry changed tactics with 20 minutes left, replacing Jermaine Jenas with Peter Crouch and switching to a 3-5-2 system, with the forward-thinking Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart in central midfield.
It almost worked straight away as Modric rattled the woodwork and those final 20 minutes were like a boxing match as the two teams slugged it out, we piled men forward looking for an equaliser, Newcastle broke quickly and often outnumbered us.
Carlo Cudicini, in for the injured Heurelho Gomes, made two outstanding saves at 1-0 and it all worked out when Crouch flicked on for Defoe, he moved the ball on to Lennon and the winger, now on the left, cut inside Jose Enrique before driving low into the corner – 90.38 on the clock.
“We absolutely deserved a point and it would have been an injustice if we hadn’t got something out of the game,” said Harry.
“We passed the ball well in the first half, got in some great positions and Jermaine Defoe had a chance to put us 1-0 up just before half-time.
“But we then conceded a bad goal from our point of view, a long crossfield pass we didn’t deal with.
“After that we pushed everyone forward.
“Jermaine Jenas did well but I decided to make the change and we ended up with a midfield of Rafa, Luka, Niko Kranjcar, two wing-backs and three at the back.
“We had to go for it and we were then open to the counter-attack. William Gallas was also pushing forward and it was four against two at the back at times.
“They were bombing forward as well, nearly made it 2-0 and that would have been game over.
“It must have been a great 20 minutes or so for the fans, real end-to-end stuff and we deserved the point.”
Meanwhile, Harry confirmed that Gareth Bale had to be withdrawn early because of a back problem – Sebastien Bassong replaced him at left-back – while Gomes was out after picking up a shoulder injury in training on Friday.
Debutant Steven Pienaar departed in the 84th minute with cramp.