Rafael van der Vaart, the Tottenham midfielder, reckons his team-mates can topple Champions League holders Inter Milan without him.
The Dutchman was sent off in his side’s 4-1 home win over FC Twente on Wednesday night and will therefore miss the trip to the San Siro on Wednesday October 20.
“We have a great team, we have quality and a good squad so we don’t have to be nervous,” he said.
“They are going to win for me against Inter Milan.”
It was certainly a night to remember as White Hart Lane hosted a Champions League group game for the first time.
Norwegian referee Terje Hauge and his four assistants awarded Tottenham three penalties. Twente goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov saved the first, from van der Vaart, but was beaten by Roman Pavlyuchenko with the other two.
Van der Vaart opened the scoring early in the second half and was sent off with the score at 2-1 after Twente substitute Nacer Chadli had pulled one back.
Gareth Bale netted a late fourth for the 10 men.
“I scored a goal and was sent off – it was a full house,” van der Vaart added.
“I’ve never had a game like this. We did well and deserved to win. Now we have to play against Inter and it will be a great game.”
Twente manager Michel Preud’homme was annoyed so many decisions appeared to have gone Tottenham’s way, especially as the officials allowed play to continue early in the second half when the ball hit Peter Crouch on an arm with the game in the balance.
“At some moments it was a joke,” the Belgian complained but Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp insisted two of the three penalty awards had been correct.
Redknapp argued that Crouch had been wrestled for the first and Bale tripped for the second while a defender’s use of an arm to block a Pavlyuchenko long-ranger had probably been rash.
“I keep seeing too many soft penalties given lately when people kick the ball at someone from close in,” he said of the third penalty.
“That wasn’t so close. I thought the third was soft but the other two were nailed on.”
Tottenham will take a four-point tally with them to Italy, with Rafa Benitez’s side now topping Group A on goal difference after beating Werder Bremen 4-0 in Milan.
Tottenham had taken a point from their first group game, sharing a 2-2 draw in Bremen on a night when Twente and Inter played out the same score-line in the Netherlands.
“After a fantastic point in Bremen it was a great performance to win 4-1, you can’t ask for more than that,” Redknapp added. “If people can’t enjoy that they can’t enjoy anything.”
Redknapp revealed he had been about to substitute van der Vaart before the midfielder picked up his second yellow card of the night for a reckless lunge on Roberto Rosales.
“It wasn’t a malicious challenge,” Redknapp said. “It was a bad forward’s challenge. I’ve seen a lot worse. I had been contemplating taking him off when it happened.”
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