Harry Redknapp hails Spurs fans' support of Crouch

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was happy with Spurs fans' backing of Peter Crouch as the striker scored twice in Saturday's 3-2 win over Stoke.

Redknapp revealed he had concerns about the home support's reaction to Crouch after his red card in Tuesday's 4-0 Champions League loss at Real Madrid.

But the Spurs boss said: "Full credit to the fans today, they were fantastic.

Crouch added he was pleased to get the chance to thank the fans for their backing after a "difficult week".

"The fans were magnificent and have been great to me since I got here," said the 30-year-old England international.

"I was down after Tuesday's game, but after a couple of goals and a win today I've gone some way to repaying their faith.

"I apologised to the manager and to the players [on Tuesday], but I got the opportunity to apologise to the fans as well today for what were a couple of silly tackles."

Redknapp publicly backed Crouch following his dismissal in the 15th minute of Tuesday's quarter-final first-leg defeat at the Bernabeu.

And the manager backed up his words with action on Saturday by keeping faith with Crouch and was rewarded as the striker bagged a brace of headers in the vital 3-2 victory over Stoke.

All five goals came in a first half dominated by the home side, but during which they twice allowed the visitors a way back into the match.

Crouch's 11th-minute header and an angled drive from Luka Modric gave Spurs a 2-0 lead before Matthew Etherington's superb solo goal pulled one back for Stoke.

A second Crouch header restored the two-goal cushion, before Stoke again struck back through Kenwyne Jones' 25-yard strike. The second half, though, was goal-less.

It is a timely win for Spurs after Tuesday's defeat and boosts their pursuit of a top-four finish, which had faltered during a run of four league matches without victory.

They are now just three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with seven league games remaining, includinga home game against Roberto Mancini's team.

"I knew we'd come back after Tuesday," claimed Redknapp. "We've got great players here.

"I thought it was a pleasure to watch us play in the first half. It was everything I love to watch in football. We moved the ball about, we made angles, we passed it great and I couldn't have enjoyed it more.

"But, from absolutely dominating from first minute to the last in the first half we find ourselves only 3-2 up.

"Credit to Stoke. I knew that second goal just before half time would give them a real lifeline and second half they really went for it. They made it difficult for us and they are a difficult team to beat."

Redknapp reiterated his desire to finish in the top four for the second successive season and secure Champions League football again after their maiden appearance in the competition this campaign.

"We've had a great run in the Champions League and we want more of it," added Redknapp.

"If we can do it again next year and get back in the Champions League it will be an even bigger achievement because Manchester City have improved massively since finishing fifth last year."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis praised his side's second half display at White Hart Lane and thought his team were close to pulling off another impressive draw after taking a point against Chelsea last week.

"We had a poor start but their strikers caused us all sorts of problems," said Pulis.

"In the second half we pushed and created a lot of problems for them and in the end they were pleased to hear the whistle I think."

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