Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp paid tribute to his defensive midfielders after his side's historic 1-0 victory at AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League.
Spurs have built a reputation for being attacking entertainers in Europe this season, finishing the group stages as joint top goalscorers, averaging three goals a game, while also conceding the highest number of goals amongst the teams qualifying for the knockout phase.
Their arrival in Milan was eagerly anticipated, with memories still vivid of their thrilling ten-man comeback from 4-0 down against Inter Milan earlier in the competition before narrowly losing 4-3. However, it was a controlled and disciplined display from central midfielders Sandro and Wilson Palacios that set the foundations for this victory, undoubtedly Spurs' best of a terrific season.
"It was a great night, a fantastic performance, we set out how we wanted to play and the players responded, they couldn't have given it any more. They did exactly what was asked of them and we got a great result that was deserved," said Redknapp.
"I thought [Sandro and Palacios] did a fantastic job. Sandro is a lad with no real experience. He's played two or three games for us but he and Wilson responded to each other, they got after them, pressed, closed them down, didn't give them space to play. That was very important for us, they did a great job."
Redknapp also paid tribute to the desire and spirit of his players, in particular playmaker Luka Modric, who defied doctors' advice to make a sustitute appearance. "I'm delighted to be part of it all and I'm delighted with the players, I couldn't have asked for more than they gave," he added.
"I had a lot of key players missing. Luka came on just 12 or 13 days after having an appendix operation. He wanted to play and traveled with us. The doctors said it was too soon but he came on in the training session [the day before the game] and so we threw him on. At this club 99 per cent have that spirit."
Redknapp also gushed over the effect that right winger Aaron Lennon had, although he said the speedy star still needs to work on his final ball. It was Lennon's pace that created the only goal of the game as he raced from inside his own half, skipped past Mario Yepes and crossed for Peter Crouch to finish into an empty net.
"It was a great run from Lennon, he left the centre-half flat on his back, skipped past him and picked the right option," said Redknapp. "In the first half his final ball wasn't what we wanted, he didn't quite pick out the final ball. But he picked out the right pass [for the goal] and Crouchy has done well, he's scored a lot of goals in Europe."