MADRID - Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho
is looking forward to congratulating Tottenham Hotspur manager
Harry Redknapp for leading his side into the Champions League
quarter-finals when their teams meet next month.
The Portuguese coach has never hidden his fondness for
English football after spending just over three seasons in
London with Chelsea and will return to the capital with Real for
the second leg of their tie against Spurs on April 13.
Mourinho was full of praise for what his friend Redknapp has
achieved at White Hart Lane since he took over a struggling team
in October 2008, describing his achievements as "brilliant."
"I left England in 2007/8 and Spurs weren't in the UEFA Cup,
they weren't even in the first six in the Premier League,"
Mourinho told a news conference on Friday.
"Martin Jol started the good work and Harry has continued it
in amazing ways. I'm so happy for that. He's a friend, one of
the few really good friends I made in England."
Spurs topped their Champions League qualifying group and
then dumped out seven-times European Cup winners AC Milan in the
last 16 stage, 1-0 on aggregate, to set up a juicy encounter
against one of the competition favourites.
"It's brilliant," Mourinho said. "They played against the
European champions in the group phase (Inter Milan).
"They played against the team who have won the European Cup
the second highest number of times, AC Milan, and now they play
Real Madrid, the Champion of Champions, who have won nine
Mourinho, who led Inter to a treble which included the
European Cup last season, has been brought in to repeat the feet
with Real Madrid this year.
He took a major step forward by breaking their last 16
hoodoo during the week, when Real knocked out Olympique Lyon to
make the last eight for the first time in seven years, but was
clearly pleased to be heading back to London.
"I'm happy to play Spurs," he added. "Because I go back
to London, to an English stadium and I see Harry and can
congratulate him for what he has done."
Redknapp was similarly fulsome in his praise of Mourinho who
he called "one of the all-time great managers".
"It will be good to see him. I think he was amazing for
English football when he came, a fantastic coach, great manager
and a real personality," the Spurs boss told a news conference.
"He lit the Premier League up in the time he was here as
well as winning the (English) championship. He's a great
personality, has great knowledge. Look what he did to win the
Champions League twice."
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