Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has played down talk of a rift with Rafael van der Vaart.
Redknapp told Sky Sports News: “The first diagnosis on Rafa’s hamstring was that he would be out for six weeks – at least,”
“Six weeks down the line, he misses the first four games, and we only have six games, so we thought there was not much point putting him in. We might as well put in some of the other lads who can play.
“The game he would have come back for would have been the game out in Russia and it would have been a long journey for him.
“We thought we’d leave him out and if we get through the group he can come in then.
“I wouldn’t have slapped Rafa out on that long journey probably anyway. He’s a very important player for us.
“He was away in Holland having treatment. I would have sent him a carrier pigeon with a message, but I didn’t feel it was that important.”
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