MILAN - Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry
Redknapp received welcome news on Monday when midfielder Rafael
van der Vaart was passed fit for Tuesday's Champions League last
16, first-leg game against AC Milan.
Van der Vaart missed Saturday's 2-1 win over Sunderland with
a calf strain and with several other midfielders absent Redknapp
was desperately hoping the Dutchman would recover.
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Gareth Bale, who scored a hat-trick last time Spurs were in
the city, when they lost 4-3 to Inter in the group phase, misses
the game with a back injury and Jermaine Jenas is suspended.
Luka Modric is struggling to make the starting side as he
recovers from an operation to remove his appendix less than two
After flying to Milan on Monday and having a light session,
Redknapp was able to report good news on Van der Vaart.
"Rafa is OK. He had a calf strain but he should be OK,"
Redknapp told reporters.
Bale, who has missed several games with a back injury, did
not travel with the squad.
"It's a big loss, he didn't feel great," said Redknapp, who
said he did not want to rush the Welshman back too early.
Bale's absence has been somewhat countered by the return to
the first team of Niko Kranjcar, who has scored the winning
goals in Spurs' last two games.
"Kranjcar is in a great form he showed it last Saturday, he
also has international experience. He won't let us down for
sure," Redknapp said of the Croatia midfielder.
Having trailed 4-0 to Inter in his last trip to the San Siro
before Bale's hat-trick brought respectability, Redknapp said he
would not be changing the style that also brought a 3-1 win over
the holders at White Hart Lane.
"It is very difficult to change approach. I certainly can't
ask players like Aaron Lennon to do defensive job because this
his not their nature. They have to play their natural game."
Captain William Gallas said the experience of playing in the
San Siro would help his team.
"Harry tells us not to be afraid of any team, we just want
to win, and win and win," he said.
Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri said he was expecting that
approach to continue.
"I think Tottenham scored the highest number of goals in the
group stage, they are very strong in attack," he said.
"But they conceded several goals as well."
Allegri is also struggling with injuries and said he had yet
to decide on his lineup or his formation.
"I still have to make a decision on (Alexandre) Pato. We
only have three strikers available, it will be different without
(Antonio) Cassano," he said.
"It could be possible to play with two men in front, a
different game than with three.
"Tomorrow we have to play a balanced match and the main
thing is not to concede goals.
"In midfield I have Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf, Flamini,
Merkel, Jankulovski, with the alternative of Thiago Silva in
front of the defence."
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