SUNDERLAND boss Steve Bruce says he wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow’s game against Spurs at the Stadium of Light turns out to be as much of a classic as last season’s contest between the two sides.
Last season’s clash of the two teams produced a memorable 3-1 win for Sunderland – the Black Cats taking a first minute lead but the game remaining in the balance until the dying few minutes when Bolo Zenden scored a spectacular volley to seal all three points for the home team.
“That was some game,” recalled Bruce.
“I would say it was the game of the season at the Stadium of Light – it had everything, great football, plenty of goals, saved penalties and a cracking winner.
“But that’s the sort of game you get when you go up against a Harry Redknapp team. He’s one of the best managers for going into a club, turning it around quickly and bringing success.
“That’s exactly what he’s done at Spurs.
“Four or five years ago, you couldn’t imagine Tottenham Hotspur challenging at the top of the table.
“Harry’s come in, though, and he’s really turned them around and now they’re a Champions League side and right up there again in the league.
“The one thing about Spurs, though, and Harry’s team is that they come to win the game.
“They’ll come here looking to be positive and attacking and give it a go but the other side of that is that you do get chances against them.
“They’re always dangerous going forward, but they do tend to leave openings at the back and we’ve got to look to exploit that.”
Redknapp brings his Tottenham team to the North East just 72 hours before the glamour Champions League knockout first leg against AC Milan, hoping to consolidate their place in the Premier League before going back into action in Europe.
And it will be interesting to see how much Spurs are focused on the league game with such a glamorous European clash on the horizon.
Bruce said: “It’s an obvious question, but the fact is that teams that qualify for the Champions League tend to have such a depth that they can put out very strong sides in both competitions.
“I always think it is better to face the big sides after a top European game because naturally they’re tired afterwards.
“Beforehand though, they tend to be energised and want to go into the European game off the back of a win.
“No-one’s saying it isn’t going to be difficult for us this weekend, but they’re a good footballing side, we’re a good footballing side and hopefully it will be an entertaining game for our fans, with us coming out with a good result again at the end of it.”