Harry Redknapp fears Tottenham will suffer the kind of mauling England endured at the hands of Germany if he goes gung-ho in his side's Champions League Group A opener at Werder Bremen on Tuesday night.
Spurs boss Redknapp is ready to play it safe away from home during what is his side's debut season in the competition by fielding a lone striker and a five-man midfield at the Weserstadion. Redknapp got his fingers burnt using 4-4-2 in the play-off round first leg at Young Boys last month, with the Swiss side racing to a 3-0 lead inside 28 minutes.
And he believes the visitors could be in for the kind of beating England took by Germany at the World Cup if he does not bolster his midfield. He said: "At times, especially in Europe, it's difficult to go away from home and play 4-4-2."
He added: "We did it last year in the Premier League. We went to Man City late in the season when we needed that vital result to get where we are.
"But I think it is more difficult the way they (Bremen) play. If they overload the midfield, you'll get outnumbered.
"If you play 4-4-2, you've got a problem in the middle of the park.
"It'll be very difficult; you'll get overrun, a little bit like England did against Germany."
Redknapp experimented with a five-man midfield in Saturday's Barclays Premier League game at West Brom, using Luka Modric and new signing Rafael van der Vaart in behind Roman Pavyluchenko. But he will almost certainly have to break up that partnership, with Modric likely to be ruled out with a leg injury.
"He's still got pain in his leg," Redknapp said about the problem that forced Modric off at the Hawthorns and needed an x-ray. "I couldn't take a chance on him unless he feels he's right.
"To go out there and break him down and then lose him for long-term, it just wouldn't be right."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms