A hard-fought 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane was enough to see Tottenham Hotspur progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in their history after a 1-0 aggregate win over AC Milan.
For much of this season, it has been Spurs’ attacking prowess that has caught the eye and too much of the headlines, but last night’s clean-sheet against Serie A leaders Milan demonstrated that their often criticised back line can stand up against the very best and grind out a result when needed.
Spurs' midfielder Sandro showing the determination
that won him the man of the match award.
Harry Redknapp’s side certainly improved after the break, with Rafael van der Vaart going close from a curling free-kick and the ever-industrious Sandro chasing and harrying the Milan players in the centre of the park. Although Tottenham failed to score for only the third time in 2011, their performance was enough to see them deservedly through to the Champions League quarter-finals, a feat never achieved before by an English manager.
Spurs’ boss Redknapp described his team’s progression as an “impossible dream”, adding “Two years ago if you would have said that we would have made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, I would have thought you were crazy.” Tottenham’s transformation under Redknapp has been not short of remarkable and two clean-sheets against seven-time European Cup winners AC Milan certainly demonstrate that Spurs’ often beleaguered back four is most certainly up to the challenge.