Perryman: Redknapp’s Spurs will emulate our home win over AC Milan in 1972
FORMER Spurs hero Steve Perryman believes Harry Redknapp’s side are ‘perfectly set’ to knock out AC Milan and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Perryman, who holds the record for most appearances in a Lilywhites shirt having played 866 games between 1969 and 1986, is also backing his old side to finish in the Premier League top four for the second season running.
Perryman scored twice against Milan when Spurs beat the Italians 2-1 at White Hart Lane en route to their 1972 Uefa Cup triumph.
And, with his old side 1-0 up from the first leg of their last-16 tie, he is backing them to repeat that feat and finish the job on home soil tomorrow night.
“It won’t be easy – AC Milan are an excellent team with great tradition and history,” the 59-year-old said. “I guess you can forget all about that though as you are just playing the team that turns up on Wednesday.
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“Milan won’t lie down, they will keep fighting and battling – but I think Tottenham have enough form at home, and the support will be amazing.
“I think the support will give Spurs an extra goal start as well, so if they don’t do anything silly and play to their potential I think they have a good chance of winning.
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“Tottenham will be more attacking because the crowd will push them on. Everyone will want one of those fantastic Spurs evenings, but the problem is if you over-attack then you can have too much of the ball. And if it’s not going in, the opponents can get some sort of confidence from that. But that’s why I feel it is so important Spurs won the first leg.
“I feel being a goal up Tottenham will attack but will do it with a hint of caution, with people behind the ball waiting for it to break down and stop the counter-attacks. I think Spurs are perfectly set.”
Tottenham scored 18 goals and conceded 11 in the group stages, but were more composed at the San Siro in the first-leg win over Milan and defended expertly against the seven-time Champions League winners.
If the Lilywhites do progress to the quarter-finals by beating Milan, the former Spurs captain feels the side will be able to beat anyone.
“Milan is a massive hurdle to overcome - that’s not to say they will meet easier teams in the future rounds, I’m sure they won’t,” added Perryman. “Tottenham on their day can beat anyone – they can absolutely beat anyone. They have a very knowledgeable manager with a very experienced squad and a very balanced squad of players.
“But, with the money that is involved in these competitions, so have all the other teams – so it is about something special on the day and Tottenham have special players to make it happen.”
As well as performing well in their debut season in the Champions League Redknapp’s side are currently fighting for fourth spot in the Premier League, and Perryman believes being knocked out of the FA Cup at Fulham in January could help Spurs to claim a top-four finish once again.
“You don’t want to lose any game and to go out of the FA Cup seemed a bit of a disaster,” added Perryman.
“But it is probably a blessing in disguise and they didn’t go that far in that either.
“In 1982 we attempted to win four trophies and ended up winning one. But I believe the squad they have now is a bigger and better squad than what we had back then.
“Okay, we were trying to win the league and they are trying to get into the top four, and I think they are more than capable of doing that. The teams around them are a bit rocky – it will be very interesting but Spurs are more than capable.”