Harry Redknapp admits that Tottenham play-maker Luka Modric is irreplacable amid fears he may face another lengthy spell out injured.
Redknapp is anxiously awaiting the results of a scan after Modric suffered a leg injury in a challenge with West Brom defender Gonzalo Jara during yesterday’s 1-1 draw.
The Croatian, who had opened the scoring, left the ground on crutches.
The blow to his leg was in the same spot as the one he broke against Birmingham last season and ruled him out for several months.
Even if the news turns out to be positive, Modric will follow Jermain Defoe and Michael Dawson in missing Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Werder Bremen.
Redknapp said: “We’ve got strength in depth, but you always have one or two players who make the difference to you.
“Modric makes the difference. In my opinion, he could play in any team, anywhere in the world.
“He’s a top, top player. He is fantastic. When you lose him, you can’t replace him.
“You’ve got other people who are good players, great players, but he’s a special player.
“So it will be a massive loss for us if he is going to be out for a while.”
It needed a reminder of another superb performance by Gareth Bale to bring a smile back to Redknapp’s face.
Bale switched from midfield to left-back but it made no difference to the havoc he caused to the West Brom defence with a series of runs and probing crosses.
He said: “Gareth Bale’s the most amazing player, isn’t he? Where do you see a performance like that?
“He has played wide left and now he’s played left-back.
“Look at him, he’s only 20. It’s just amazing, isn’t it? He’s such a threat, isn’t he?
“The times he gets behind the back four from left-back, the energy that he plays with, and the quality that he plays with is just amazing.”
West Brom hope midfielder Graham Dorrans will return to action sooner rather than later after he withdrew from the game because of a family bereavement.
Baggies boss Roberto Di Matteo said: “We knew he was not able to play on the morning of the game. We hope he will back with us very soon.”
Skipper Scott Carson believes West Brom are better equipped to compete in the Premier League than when they were relegated two years ago.
He said: “In the past we maybe would have conceded the first goal and then thought: ’oh here we go’.
“But it just shows the spirit in the squad and how the manager has got us playing with a never-say-die attitude and I think it has paid off.
“We have played against a top side and gone from 1-0 down to deserving to win the game.
“I think now we are all playing for the team and doing all the dirty stuff we never used to.
“I saw Jerome Thomas win a good 50-50 sliding tackle and those are the sort of things we didn’t do two years ago.
“Hopefully the penny is starting to drop and we know what we need to do to stay in the league.”
Modric opened the scoring but Chris Brunt earned Albion a deserved share of the spoils with the 50th league goal of his career.