Harry Redknapp
Tottenham Hotspur manager Redknapp talks to his assistant coach Bond during their English FA Cup fifth round replay match against Stevenage at White Hart Lane in London. REUTERS

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has described for the first time his horror at witnessing Fabrice Muamba being treated on the White Hart Lane pitch on Saturday.

Muamba, 23, collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest shortly before half-time during Bolton's FA Cup quarter-final tie with Spurs.

The match was abandonned with the score at 1-1 as medical staff at Tottenham's ground battled to save Muamba's life.

On Monday, the Bolton midfielder was demonstrating "small signs of improvement", according to doctors at the London Chest Hospital. A statement from Barts and the London NHS Trust, which runs the hospital and Muamba's club, said that "his heart is now beating without the help of medication and he is also moving his arms and his legs.

However, his long-term prognosis will remain unclear for some time". The hospital continues to describe him as "critically ill" and he remains in intensive care.

"When they were pumping his heart, we realised just how desperate it was. I feared the worst," Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports.

"None of us could believe what had happened. Everyone was shocked. I just remember him laying on the floor and my first thought was that someone elbowed him off the ball.

"Then we saw the pumping of his chest, but the medical people were fantastic, then the heart people came out of the crowd, specialists who were at the game, they came on the pitch and leant their expertise.

"They were all amazing and the crowd were fantastic, so respectful and the referee handled it so well, he was top drawer and a lot of credit to him too."

Meanwhile, Redknapp has confirmed Tottenham's players will not be allowed to miss Wednesday's match against Stoke City, despite concerns over the emotional state of those who witnessed Muamba's collapse at White Hart Lane.

Jermain Defoe and Rafael van der Vaart have both described in vivid detail their experience of the incident but the Tottenham manager believes that it is best for the whole squad to get back playing as soon as possible.

"You need to play, they need to play," Redknapp is quoted in the Telegraph. "Get out and play again for sure. They realise it is a one off and a one in a million chance probably. I have never seen it before in all my time in football.

"Saturday was just unbelievable, something never witnessed on a pitch before. I don't think any of us could believe what happened. It was a hell of a shock when you realised just what was going on."