Redknapp's premature praise for Palacios backfires

MOST OF the country have been eating their words after yesterday's semi-final shock, choking on their confident pre-match predictions. Spurs fans, neutrals and the majority of the media all fully expected to see Tottenham join Chelsea in the final...

By Ben Pearce

MOST OF the country have been eating their words after yesterday's semi-final shock, choking on their confident pre-match predictions.

Spurs fans, neutrals and the majority of the media all fully expected to see Tottenham join Chelsea in the final. However, they were not the only ones to tempt fate and get egg on their face.

Harry Redknapp may have warned everybody not to underestimate Portsmouth, but he will surely rue his blase belief that Wilson Palacios would escape his 10th booking of the season, which has ruled him out of the crunch clashes with Arsenal and Chelsea.


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It was a painful final blow for Spurs, and it could not have come at a worse time. However, two days before the semi-final, when Redknapp was asked whether the Honduran's precarious situation was on his mind, he replied: "No not really now, it's his last game [before the amnesty]. He's been terrific, he's got through that without the bookings."

Oh so nearly. Palacios had been walking a tightrope since February 14, when he picked up his ninth yellow card of the season in the FA Cup tie at Bolton's Reebok Stadium.

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The 25-year-old has since played eight games without being booked, inching his way carefully towards the amnesty, which kicked in on Sunday night, clearing all players of their past transgressions.

Agonisingly, Palacios was just four minutes away when he hauled down Dindane inside the penalty box in the 116th minute.

"You don't need to get 10 bookings," said Redknapp on Friday, unaware of what was to come.

"He's a fantastic player, a good tackler and he's proved that he doesn't need to get booked. I've spoken to him about that a lot.

"There's lots of great midfield players who don't get booked every week. It doesn't prove you're a fearsome tackler or anything else. It proves that you make clumsy challenges really.

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