Friday 23 February 2018

Redknapp in threat to boycott TV as ref row escalates

Sam Wallace

HARRY REDKNAPP said yesterday he would fight the English FA all the way if they charge him today over his outspoken criticism of referee Mark Clattenburg and promised to boycott all post-match television interviews in response.

The Tottenham manager showed no signs of relenting in the escalating row that followed Nani's controversial goal against Spurs last Saturday -- even with the possibility of an FA charge hanging over him.

The English game's governing body will decide today after reviewing footage of Redknapp's Saturday press conference whether to charge him with improper conduct over the comment that Clattenburg and his assistants had colluded in making up "a story" over the incident.

Yesterday, Redknapp, whose team face Internazionale in the Champions League tonight, stood by his allegation that Clattenburg and his assistants, Simon Beck and Darren Cann, had made sure they "sung from the same hymn sheet" on an explanation for allowing Nani's goal.


It is those remarks, augmented by yesterday's outspoken press conference, that could land the Spurs manager in difficulty with the FA, who had previously been minded to ignore Redknapp's comments.

"If I can't come on TV and answer a question in a truthful manner when I'm asked, then we shouldn't be dragged out to TV two minutes after a game," Redknapp said.

"I'm getting pulled out there by the press officer. I don't want to go on TV; I'd much rather stay in the dressing-room and speak to the players.

"When I'm asked a question I give a truthful answer -- he (Clattenburg) made a right mess of it and I stand by that 100pc. Good luck if they (the FA) want to make an issue of what I said -- then I'll make some issues too.

"Don't expect me to come out on the television after a game ever because I won't do so. If you want me to talk rubbish and say it was a good decision, then don't bother getting me out after a game."

Later, Redknapp added: "Oh, I would be sick. I wouldn't take it (an FA charge) lying down, no chance. I haven't done anything. I didn't go up to the referee, I didn't go and run onto the pitch, I didn't chase him into his room.

"I got put in front of the cameras within five minutes. I gave my honest opinion. I saw a complete mess-up, where no one knew what had happened. No one still knows, really.

"I never questioned the integrity (of the referees). What I said is that when they get in their room they make sure that they sing from the same hymn sheet and anyone that thinks that doesn't happen, they shouldn't be in football, or involved in the game, because I've been in it long enough. They always come up with the same.

"The linesman isn't going to say, 'I told him it was handball and he should have disallowed it.'

"They'll all come up with the same ... there'll be an answer, even though I know for a fact that Mark Clattenburg in private has said to somebody that he made a mess, really. He should have blown up and given the free-kick."

Redknapp's off-pitch sparring with the powers-that-be demonstrates his belief that attack is the best form of defence. Even against the European champions.

Redknapp will reiterate this message to his players before tonight's match. His team-sheet serves as a call to arms.

Rafael van der Vaart's unexpected recovery from a hamstring problem to take his place in the team has settled Redknapp's only selection quandary, leaving Tom Huddlestone under pressure to guard against the threat of Inter's formidable trio of Jonathan Biabiany, Wesley Sneijder and Goran Pandev.

Carlo Cudicini replaces the suspended Heurelho Gomes in goal, but Inter are also weakened in that area because of a hamstring injury to Julio Cesar, who is replaced by Luca Castellazzi, a 35-year-old making only his second Champions League appearance.

Tottenham's Champions League voyage has represented the rollercoaster ride of cliche, with 25 goals featuring in their five matches to date, and more thrills and spills are in store as this stage's most competitive group builds towards a climax.

Many managers would be chastened after seeing their side concede four goals in half an hour, as Tottenham did at the San Siro last month, but not Redknapp.

"I don't have any options other than to pick an attacking team. Look at my midfield. We have Huddlestone, Modric, Bale, Lennon, Van der Vaart and then a front man in Crouchie," he said.

"Unless I leave Modric out of the team and play Wilson Palacios, I can't thicken it up. I have two wingers that have to play. I like playing attacking teams. It is the squad I have developed.

"The key will be ripping into them on the flanks. We need Bale to get the better of Maicon again, then you have Lennon on the other side.

"We're at home and have got to have a go." (© Independent News Service)

Spurs v Inter Milan,

Live, Sky Spts 2 / Setanta Irl, 7.45

Irish Independent

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