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I believe in miracles, says Redknapp

LONDON, April 13, 2011 – Harry Redknapp insists Tottenham can produce a miracle comeback against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Wednesday.
LONDON, April 13, 2011 – Harry Redknapp insists Tottenham can produce a miracle comeback against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Wednesday.

Redknapp’s side have been widely written off after losing the first leg 4-0 in Madrid last week and it would take the biggest revival in Champions League history to reach the semi-finals.

No team has ever bounced back from such a large first leg deficit and a tactically astute coach like Real’s Jose Mourinho will make it even harder for Spurs to defy the odds at White Hart Lane.

But, while Redknapp acknowledges the size of the task facing his team, the Tottenham boss is adamant it would be wrong to write them off completely.

"We are in a situation where everybody feels the tie is over. It will take a miracle but miracles can happen," Redknapp told reporters on Tuesday.

"I went to see Fulham play Juventus in the Europa League last season. They were 3-1 down from the first leg and conceded another goal in the second leg but still came back to win.

"It was one of the great games I’ve seen and showed anything is possible. If we play well you never know what can happen.

"It’s a fantastic game to look forward to. Obviously we would like to be in a position where the score is a lot closer but the first leg didn’t go our way for reasons we all know.

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"As long as we give it our best shot I can’t ask any more. We have to turn in a good performance and see how it develops.

"Hopefully we can make a real game of it. I will be happy if it goes to penalties, we’ve been practising!"

Redknapp admitted Vedran Corluka faces a late fitness test after the Croatian right-back aggravated an ankle injury in Saturday’s win over Stoke.

On the plus side, Aaron Lennon trained on Tuesday after recovering from an illness that forced him to pull out of the first leg just minutes before kick-off and the England winger should be fit to start.

Lennon’s blistering pace is essential to Redknapp’s attacking gameplan, but he has warned his players not to throw caution to the wind too early in case they are caught on the counter-attack.

"People say you have to attack them but you can’t be that open when you are playing a team with world class players," Redknapp said.

"What you don’t want is to start bombing everyone forward and get ripped apart on the counter-attack. We have to make sure it is controlled."

Redknapp’s upbeat approach to the match has filtered through to the players judging by their relaxed attitude at training on Tuesday, with the Spurs boss revealing he opted against telling them they need to make the biggest comeback ever to go through.

"I haven’t told them that!" Redknapp laughed. "They might ring me up and say ‘what’s the use in coming, can I go shopping?".

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If Spurs are to give Madrid a nervous night they need a herculean performance from Luka Modric.

Modric lists Gladiator among his favourite films and the Croatian midfielder wants Spurs to play with the kind of never-say-die attitude shown by the warriors in the Russell Crowe movie.

"I watched that movie a lot of times. I won’t watch it again before the match but it is true we need to show big fighting spirit like in the movie," Modric said.

"Against Real that is the only way we can expect something from the game.

"We believe we can produce a miracle but to be honest it is going to be very hard because Madrid is a great team."

With Spurs far from certain to qualify for next season’s Champions League there will be bigger clubs looking to sign their best players, but Modric is convinced there won’t be a major exodus.

"We all have long contracts. Even if we don’t qualify for the Champions League it is possible everyone will stay. No-one is thinking of leaving," Modric said.

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