Tottenham coach Harry Redknapp felt his side had been left with an "impossible task" against rampant Real Madrid after losing Peter Crouch to an early sending off.
Spurs were already trailing to an Emmanuel Adebayor header when Crouch was dismissed in the 15th minute for the second of two bookings, and hosts Madrid took full advantage to claim a 4-0 first leg victory and make a huge stride towards the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Redknapp admitted: "It was a difficult night. I lost Aaron Lennon just as the team were walking onto the pitch, he didn't feel well enough to play so we had to change that straight away, and obviously to go down to 10 men is difficult, you need a miracle here to win with 10 men. Better teams than us would probably have struggled. It was an uphill task, an impossible task."
Spurs managed to keep Madrid to just a one-goal advantage by half-time, but Jose Mourinho's men took the match away from the visitors with three second-half goals from former Arsenal striker Adebayor, Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo.
He added "For the first half I thought we did fantastic with 10 men, we had a couple of good opportunities on the break but we ran out of steam, with Gareth (Bale) cramping up, and we lost our right back (Vedran Corluka). It was one of those nights.
"Obviously we're disappointed. What do you do about the third goal? An unbelievable finish, they've got quality players and you need to have 11 to have any chance and be at your best here."
Crouch picked up his first caution in the eighth minute for a foul on Sergio Ramos and then seven minutes later got his marching orders following a late challenge on Marcelo near the Madrid box.
Redknapp said of the England striker's dismissal: "I haven't spoken to Crouchy to be honest, I'm disappointed obviously, it's all we needed to go down to 10 men so early in the game."
The loss means Spurs need to create a huge upset to avoid tumbling out of the competition in the second leg at White Hart Lane, but while Redknapp knows the odds are stacked against them, he is refusing to concede the tie is definitely over.
"Well, it's going to be very difficult. It certainly couldn't be much more difficult than being 4-0 down to Real Madrid, but we're at home, we'll give it a go," said Redknapp. "It's never over until it's over and you never know, though obviously we've got a mountain to climb, there's no doubt about that."
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