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Page last updated at 21:18 GMT, Sunday, 11 April 2010 22:18 UK

Harry Redknapp seethes at 'disgraceful' Wembley pitch

Frederic Piquionne slots Portsmouth's opener after Spurs defender Michael Dawson slips
Redknapp blamed Dawson's crucial slip on the state of the Wembley pitch

Wembley's pitch is facing renewed criticism as Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp labelled it a "disgrace" after his side's FA Cup semi-final defeat.

The surface was relaid just three weeks ago for the 10th time since 2007 following the stadium's renovation.

"It's a disgrace," said Redknapp after Spurs were beaten 2-0 by Portsmouth on Sunday. "I won't use it as an excuse because it's the same for both teams."

The Football Association chose not to comment when contacted by BBC Sport.

Pompey's opener in extra-time came after Michael Dawson slipped as he tried to prevent Frederic Piquionne from shooting.

Players slipped throughout Sunday's game and in Saturday's first semi-final both teams struggled with their footing on the Wembley surface.

"You have to spend the whole time making sure you don't fall over. That can't be right can it?" added Redknapp.

"How can you play on a pitch you can't stand up on?

Full credit to (Pompey boss) Avram Grant - he's done a great job because they were well set up and organised

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp

"Michael Dawson slipped on it and I was here yesterday and saw people unable to keep their feet. It's unreal.

"I said before the game that anyone can slip on that pitch, so you'll have to be very careful.

"Yesterday I saw goalkeepers trying to kick balls but fall over, that's how bad the pitch is - it's rock hard and wet on top. It's impossible to play on."

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant agreed with his Tottenham counterpart.

"The pitch is a disgrace even though it is the same for both teams," he said.

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill condemned the surface on Saturday after his team lost 3-0 to Chelsea in the first FA Cup semi-final, joining England manager Fabio Capello and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who have both previously criticised the Wembley surface.

We've got to try and get a fit team out for Wednesday night - we've got Arsenal and that's a massive game

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp

After the 2009 FA Cup semi-finals, Ferguson, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Everton manager David Moyes all criticised the Wembley pitch at a stadium that took seven years to build and cost £750m.

And following the Carling Cup final in March, Villa midfielder James Milner said he had experienced better surfaces at lower league teams.

Spurs missed a host of chances in Sunday's semi-final, with Peter Crouch the worst offender, although the England striker did have a goal disallowed after Niko Kranjcar was controversially penalised for shoving David James in the build-up.

"It wasn't our day, sometimes it isn't. We had opportunities but we couldn't stick one away," said Redknapp.

"It was a good goal that we had disallowed, I've watched it four or five times but that's how it goes.

"Full credit to Portsmouth, they're a threat - they have pace up front and out wide. They're always dangerous on the counter attack.

"Full credit to Avram Grant. He's done a great job because they were well set up and organised. It was their day. I wish them every success in the final."


Tottenham resume their push for a Champions League place on Wednesday when they host Arsenal in the Premier League and Redknapp is relishing the prospect.

"We've got to try and get a fit team out for Wednesday night. We've got Arsenal and that's a massive game," said Redknapp, whose side are four points behind fourth-place Manchester City, who beat Birmingham 5-1 on Sunday, though Spurs have a game in hand.

"In my opinion I couldn't have asked for a better game. This wasn't ideal preparation that's for sure, but the players will have a rest now and we'll get ready to go again."

see also
Tottenham 0-2 Portsmouth (aet)
11 Apr 10 |  FA Cup
Sunday football as it happened
11 Apr 10 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
11 Apr 10 |  Football
Aston Villa 0-3 Chelsea
10 Apr 10 |  FA Cup
Why is the Wembley pitch so poor?
22 Apr 09 |  Magazine
Milner criticises Wembley pitch
02 Mar 10 |  Football
Wembley to re-lay turf for finals
24 Apr 09 |  Football
FA to address Wembley pitch issue
20 Apr 09 |  Football

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