'We need to play against Stoke' - Redknapp

After being in some distress following Fabrice Muamba's collapse on the pitch, the Spurs manager believes carrying on as normal is the best thing for his team

Harry Redknapp admits he has not given his Tottenham players the choice not to play in Wednesday’s clash with Stoke City in the wake of Fabrice Muamba’s heart attack on Saturday.

Spurs were playing against Bolton in their weekend FA Cup tie when the midfielder collapsed near the half-way line. The 23-year-old is now making small signs of recovery after being taken to hospital.

Both sets of players were in obvious distress after witnessing Muamba’s struggle on the pitch and his subsequent treatment, which included CPR and the use of a defibrillator, as doctors worked relentlessly to restart the former England Under-21 international’s heart.

The Trotters’ game with Aston Villa has already been called off, with Owen Coyle and his men far from in the right frame of mind to focus on football. But Redknapp insists his outfit need to get back to playing to put their minds back on their jobs.

The 65-year-old told reporters: “Will I give them the option of not playing? No, they need to play. I think they are okay, we tried to have a bright morning, upbeat rather than too serious in training, to get them all going again.

“The best thing for them is to get back on the pitch and play, for sure.”

The former Portsmouth manager also revealed Stoke boss Tony Pulis had been in touch to offer to postpone their game, but Redknapp believes his players will be in focused enough to play against the Potters.

“Tony [Pulis] rang me this morning and he was great.

“He said: 'Look Harry, if you feel your players aren't ready to play then whatever you want to do, Stoke City will back you.'

“That was great for him to ring but we have to play.

“I can understand why Bolton are not playing tomorrow because their players are very close to Fabrice, but we just really have to get on with it as best we can.

“We will be ready to play on Wednesday.”

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