Mourinho: 'Crouch is to blame'

Peter Crouch's red card ruined Champions League clash, according to Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.

    'We have a mountain to climb' admitted Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, left, after the game [GALLO/GETTY]

    Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has blamed Tottenham striker Peter Crouch for the one-sided European Champions League quarterfinal first leg clash on Tuesday, in which Real Madrid thumped Spurs 4-0 at the Bernabeu Stadium.

    Crouch was sent off in the 15th minute following two bookings for poor lunging tackles with Mourinho saying the resulting red card has all but ended Spurs' chances of progressing.

    "Peter should have controlled himself better having already been booked," Mourinho said at a post-match news conference.

    "We had one team completely stuck at the back without any chance of responding," added the Portuguese, Champions League winner last season with Inter Milan and in 2004 with Porto.

    "The game could have been completely different and it's a bit sad as I prefer authentic football matches."


    The nine-time winners punished the London side after Spurs were forced on the defensive and unable to make any ground in the game. The Spanish Primera Division giants are in complete control of the tie ahead of next week's second leg and if they progress will face either 2009 winners and bitter rivals Barcelona or Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk in the semifinals.

    Tottenham held on until the interval trailing just 1-0 but fell apart in the second half with Adebayor scoring his second before Angel di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo netted late on.

    Disappointed Spurs manager Harry Redknapp spoke to media after the match: "I haven't spoken to (Peter) Crouch to be honest," said Redknapp.

    "I was disappointed. The last thing we needed to go down to 10 men early in the game and that is what happened.

    "I haven't seen a replay of the tackle. He already had a yellow card and he shouldn't take the chance of getting a red card so as I said I am disappointed."

    "In the first half we did fantastic with 10 men. However, we ran out of steam and it was one of those nights. Better teams than us would have struggled against a side such as Real with 10 men.

    "Jose (Mourinho) said it was impossible to play with 10 men for so long. To play for that long against a good team is impossible for us."

    'Mountain to climb'

    Tottenham, who last reached a European Cup final back in 1962, are strong at home and Redknapp said his side would give their all in the return leg at White Hart Lane on April 13.

    "Trailing 4-0 to Real Madrid is very difficult and we have a mountain to climb, no doubt about that."

    Harry Redknapp, Spurs manager

    "It is going to be difficult to turn around. Trailing 4-0 to Real Madrid is very difficult and we have a mountain to climb no doubt about that."

    Mourinho offered some sympathy to Redknapp and admitted the sending-off had been decisive, but said that he knew from his time in England with Chelsea that Tottenham would not lie down in the second leg.

    "Of course I have some sympathy for Harry (Redknapp) and I hope no one criticises Tottenham because 11 against 10 at this level is mission impossible," said Mourinho.

    "I know the mentality of the English players and their fans. Everything is possible. Manchester United came from two goals down to win 4-2 against West Ham the other day so it is possible.

    "White Hart Lane is not an easy place to play and they will fight for sure.

    "We have to show Tottenham respect and leave London with a positive result."

    Real's resounding victory at a festive Bernabeu was the perfect tonic for Mourinho's side after their bid to end Barca's two-year reign as Spanish champions foundered at home to Sporting Gijon on Saturday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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