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Spurs boss Redknapp hails Champions League progress

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Redknapp praises 'fantastic achievement'

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp described his club's progress as an "impossible dream" after they secured their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Spurs drew 0-0 with Serie A leaders AC Milan at home on Wednesday to seal a 1-0 aggregate win and last-eight place.

"This is an impossible dream that we have achieved so far," said Redknapp.

"Two years ago if you would have said that we would have made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, I would have thought you were crazy."

Tottenham had finished top of a group including holders Inter Milan, Werder Bremen and FC Twente to reach the knock-out stages.

And Redknapp was full of praise for his players after they knocked out a side that has won Europe's premier club competition seven times.

"It's our first year in the club's history we have ever made Champions League football, so that was a fantastic achievement to have won our group and to do what we have done against AC Milan," said the 64-year-old.

Gallas hopes to avoid Barcelona

"We have beaten AC Milan over two legs with two clean sheets and won our group, which was the hardest of the lot."

With Peter Crouch's late strike at the San Siro in the first leg separating the sides, Milan tried desperately to get back on level terms at White Hart Lane, having 58% of the possession and serving up 16 attempts on goal, with three on target.

The closest they came was when Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes was caught out of his goal and the Italian side's striker Robinho had an effort glance off Benoit Assou-Ekotto before being cleared off the goal-line by William Gallas.

"It was always going to be a nervy night," added Redknapp, who became the first English manager to lead a side into the quarter-finals of European football's top competition since its rebranding as Champions League in 1992.

"If you think you are going to smash AC Milan out of sight then obviously you haven't been watching football over the last few years.

"Sandro was immense in midfield, for a young lad with limited experience of the Champions League.

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"We defended for our lives and the keeper did well for us too."

Redknapp had watched Barcelona impressively knock Tottenham's north London rivals Arsenal out on Tuesday and the Spurs boss suggested that the La Liga leaders would be the team to beat in this year's competition.

"I don't know how far we can go," said Redknapp. "I thought it was an amazing performance from Barcelona to beat a team who are probably the best passing team in the Premier League.

"To make them look so ordinary was amazing. It will be difficult for anyone to beat Barcelona. They are an amazing team, but who knows.

"We are in the last eight and we have done well to get where we are. We want to stay in this competition and go as far as we can."

Terry Venables was the last Englishman to reach the quarter-finals in Europe's top club competition in 1986 as Barcelona boss but no other English manager has repeated the feat since the trophy was revamped 19 years ago.

I am not getting too carried away. I'm just looking forward to getting home, having a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich and taking the dogs out

Harry Redknapp

Redknapp insisted he would not be letting his side's success go to their heads as his side face the prospect of playing the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona when the draw April's quarter-finals is made on 18 March.

However the club's European progress gives him another potential route into next season's competition. Currently fifth in the Premier League, they face a battle to qualify through a top-four league position but winning the Champions League would secure automatic entry into next season's group stages.

Redknapp, though, stressed: "I am not getting too carried away. I'm just looking forward to getting home and having a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich and taking the dogs out.

"It's a great night for Tottenham but we are not going to celebrate. The players are coming in for a warm down on Thursday and they are not going to have much time to celebrate."

Milan have been knocked out of the Champions League by an English side in three of the last four seasons since winning the competition in 2007.

"This year something should have changed because I think we have played some good football apart from the first half of the first leg," said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"I feel bitter, I have regrets for myself, the players and the club... over the course of the two games I think we deserved a little more."



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see also
Redknapp praises 'fantastic achievement'
09 Mar 11 |  Tottenham
Gallas hopes to avoid Barcelona
10 Mar 11 |  Tottenham
Tottenham 0-0 AC Milan (agg 1-0)
09 Mar 11 |  Europe
Wednesday football as it happened
09 Mar 11 |  Football
Wednesday's football photos
09 Mar 11 |  Football
AC Milan 0-1 Tottenham
15 Feb 11 |  Europe


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