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Page last updated at 22:48 GMT, Tuesday, 17 August 2010 23:48 UK

Redknapp relief despite Tottenham's loss at Young Boys

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp
Redknapp says his players struggled on the artificial pitch

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp cut a relieved figure despite his side's 3-2 defeat by Young Boys in the first leg of their Champions League play-off.

Spurs made an unconvincing start on the plastic pitch and were 3-0 down inside 28 minutes before Sebastien Bassong and Roman Pavlyuchenko reduced the deficit.

"It was a great defeat - if there is such a thing," said Redknapp.

"At 3-0 down, we were staring down the barrel. We were in desperate trouble. We were all over the show."

Senad Lulic hit the post in the opening minutes before he gave Young Boys a lead which was added to by Henri Bienvenu and Xavier Hochstrasser before the half hour mark.

"From the first minute, we started sloppily, they hit the post and it went on," added Redknapp.

"They didn't give us time to settle on the ball. They ran all over us in the first half hour."

Redknapp believes the artificial surface at the Stade de Suisse played a huge part in his side's poor performance.

"It's not an excuse but I played on Astroturf myself and hated every minute of it," he commented.

Our plan is to get after them at White Hart Lane. It'll be a fantastic crowd, great atmosphere and we're at home

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp

"We used to have it at QPR but we don't have it anymore in England. I don't agree with artificial turf and I don't think it should be used in a competition like this.

"I left four players out because they weren't comfortable on the pitch in training on Monday.

"Aaron Lennon wasn't comfortable, Robbie [Keane] had a problem with his knee. The last time Tom Huddlestone played on artificial turf he was out for six weeks as his knee blew up like a balloon.

"I didn't really want to risk Tom. It was a case that we were pretty desperate and I threw him on."

Spurs were given enough evidence that they will have to up their game to overcome a Young Boys side who won 1-0 away at Fenerbahce in the last round to triumph 3-2 on aggregate and secure their progress to the play-off.

Redknapp insisted his side would not underestimate their opponents, but believes the two away goals his side have in the bag are a major bonus.

"Our plan is to get after them at White Hart Lane," stated the Spurs manager. "It'll be a fantastic crowd, great atmosphere and we're at home.


"We have to win the game. If we win the game, we have a great chance to go through, obviously, with the two away goals."

Young Boys' Enfield-born defender Scott Sutter admitted the pitch had played a factor in the result.

"It's an advantage that we train here every day, not just with the pitch but we're also so familiar with the surroundings," said the former Tottenham season-ticket holder.

"The difference between a perfectly cut pitch - like it probably is at White Hart Lane - and here, they're both as fast as each other, you just need to be a bit more aware about how the ball bounces when it's wet."

Sutter's coach Vladimir Petkovic was rueful about letting in a second goal but was full of praise for the way his side performed.

"I'm very happy, very satisfied," Petkovic said. "If, before the match, somebody had told me this would be the case, I would have been very happy.

"I'm very proud of the team, of the team spirit, of their interpretation of football and the team were very mentally strong.

"The first 30 to 35 minutes, we were very good - perfect. We played tactically very well and we had some very dangerous movements.

"It was difficult to keep the rhythm for the 90 minutes. Their second goal shouldn't have been made but I'm still very proud of the team."

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see also
Young Boys 3-2 Tottenham
17 Aug 10 |  Europe
Champions League photos
17 Aug 10 |  Europe
Spurs target Euro elite
16 Aug 10 |  Tottenham

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