carling cup final

Redknapp looking to Modric for Wembley joy

February 28, 2009

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is hoping Luka Modric enjoys a happy return to Wembley when he faces Manchester United in the Carling Cup final.

GettyImagesThe Croatian has good memories of Wembley.

Modric pulled the strings for Croatia when they crushed England's hopes of reaching Euro 2008, with defeat signalling the end of Steve McClaren's reign as national manager.

Redknapp has built his team around Modric and will look for the midfielder to break down United.

''Modric did it for Croatia at Wembley, so for him to be going back is good,'' Redknapp said.

Redknapp will assess Ledley King's knee before deciding his starting XI, while Jamie O'Hara has forced his way into contention after recovering from hip and groin problems.

O'Hara would compete with David Bentley for a place on the left flank. O'Hara has been praised for his attitude recently, while Bentley's form has been patchy.

''I had one meeting when I told them all exactly what I thought about them and how they come across to me, and I was open with them,'' Redknapp said. ''I told David I thought he could do better. He's got terrific ability and he did respond to that with a couple of good performances.''

In goal, Heurelho Gomes will start as Carlo Cudicini is cup-tied.

Redknapp was furious in the dug-out when Gomes dribbled around a Shakhtar Donetsk striker during the UEFA Cup clash on Thursday.

''If he lost the ball, he would have been killed really,'' Redknapp said. ''It was crazy. It is that mentality of coming from Brazil, where they throw the ball out to everyone, and the left-back is not closed down by the winger.''

Meanwhile, Redknapp admits he would be staring at relegation if his side were not playing United this weekend.

Spurs were two minutes away from an embarrassing semi-final defeat to Burnley, letting slip a 4-1 lead from the first leg and trailing on away goals until Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe struck.

More than a month later and Spurs are not clear of Barclays Premier League relegation worries but they were in much deeper trouble when they travelled Turf Moor and losing that tie would have impacted on their survival bid.

''It would certainly have made it very, very difficult for us to have lifted ourselves,'' he said. ''The shame of it all, of being 4-1 up and going out the competition.

''That was as angry as I have been since I have been here. I was very, very low. Imagine how low we would have been if we had gone out.

''If we had gone out we would have been in desperate trouble because I don't know how we would have recovered from that.''