LONDON, April 12 – Harry Redknapp insists Tottenham will go down fighting even though they face a mission impossible against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Wednesday.
Redknapp concedes his side are massive underdogs after losing the first leg 4-0 in Spain last week, but the Spurs boss will accept nothing less than total commitment in the return at White Hart Lane.
The chances of an astute tactician like Real coach Jose Mourinho allowing his team to surrender such a substantial lead are extremely slender, yet Tottenham can draw some belief from their exploits earlier in the competition.
They came back from 3-0 down to beat Young Boys Berne in the qualifying round and almost drew with Inter Milan in the San Siro despite falling 4-0 behind with 10 men and Redknapp will remind his players of that before kick-off.
"I look at the whole season with how it has gone and I think that we are not out of it yet. Nothing is impossible. Who knows what can happen," Redknapp said.
"The crowd already know that on Wednesday we will give it a hell of a go.
"But Real Madrid can pick you off if you aren’t careful because Cristiano Ronaldo can pick up the ball and run 80 yards with it and you think: ‘Oh, my God.’
"Real might have beat us 4-0 with 11 men, they are capable of doing something like that. They have dangerous players, fantastic players."
If this is the end of Tottenham’s first Champions League campaign since 1962 Redknapp is adamant there will be no regrets that they have fallen short of the Wembley final.
Memorable wins over Inter Milan and AC Milan were the undoubted high points, but remaining in the competition for at least a round longer than Arsenal was also a sweet sensation for a club who had spent years in the shadow of their north London rivals.
"I have nothing to wipe away, the Champions League has been fantastic for us," Redknapp said.
"Nothing compares to the Champions League, it is different class. It’s on absolutely another level.
"It has been an amazing achievement at the club and the crowd have seen some fantastic football this season, it don’t get much better."
While Redknapp will be without Peter Crouch, suspended after his reckless and costly red card in the first leg, the other perceived villain of the first leg – Spurs winger Aaron Lennon – is fit to feature after recovering from the illness that forced him to pull out just minutes before kick-off at the Bernabeu.
Tottenham fans will also be under the microscope after Real’s former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who scored twice in the first leg, accused them of chanting racist abuse at him during the Bernabeu clash.
Even though the tie is all but over and Real face a must-win match against Barcelona this weekend, Mourinho is unlikely to risk resting his key players against Spurs as he looks to take the club into the last four for the first time since 2003.
Mourinho, who has won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan, knows his employers at nine-time winners Real regard the competition as the only true judge of a manager and the Portuguese coach could do with delivering the club’s first triumph since 2002 as his first season in Spain has been a stormy affair.
However, Mourinho insists he is not obsessed by winning Europe’s elite club prize again.
"I’m passionate about doing things well and making people happy. Winning a Champions League trophy is something that truly has an impact on the fans," Mourinho told Uefa.com.
"Until the end of my career, I will always be trying to win it one more time, but without it ever becoming an obsession."