Hero and villain: Tottenham winger Gareth Bale scores against Inter Milan before taking a tumble in the Europa League
‘There was a risk of Gareth being suspended for the quarter-finals, so we clean him of the cards’
Gareth Bale will not return to San Siro on Thursday after being suspended for diving, but the Tottenham Hotspur manager, Andre Villas-Boas, said he was pleased the Welsh striker was out as it left him “clean” for Spurs’ likely quarter-final.
Villas-Boas even suggested he would have asked Bale to get booked during Spurs’ 3-0 win over Internazionale, in which Bale opened the scoring with a header, to wipe his slate clean.
“He’s obviously a great a miss,” Villas-Boas said after the victory. “With this result we would have asked him to get the yellow card to get clean and be ready for the last eight.”
Villas-Boas admitted Spurs will miss Bale but hoped their margin was enough that they would not need him. “I think we are in a good position,” the manager said. “It’s not finished. We will miss Gareth because he’s been influential I consecutive games but hopefully we can make it without him and go through to the last eight.”
Bale’s booking, for going down near Walter Gargano in the penalty area in the first half, was his third of the Europa League so far this season. It was his sixth for simulation in the last 15 months.
Villas-Boas was candid afterwards, saying that the booking had the beneficial effect of resetting his card counts for Spurs’ quarter-final, presuming they get there.
“It was the risk of being suspended for the game, so we clean him,” the Portuguese explained. “We have him clean of the cards for the future rounds. He’s obviously going to be missed, but we have to be aware and maybe give an opportunity for another player. We will have [Emanuel] Adebayor back, [Clint] Dempsey will be back soon, so perhaps we can play two up front.”
Bale opened Spurs’ scoring with a powerful header after just six minutes, his 10th goal in Tottenham’s last eight games, and Villas-Boas said he was delighted with his continued form.
“He’s a tremendous player,” Villas-Boas said. “So powerful now through the middle. It’s a great moment of his career, so we’re very very fortunate to have him playing at this level.”
He was delighted with Spurs’ display, arguably their best of his tenure. “It was a very good performance, it was a great night of European football for us,” he said. “We really felt at half-time we could have gone further ahead. We had so many opportunities that in the end it was a great game of football, well played and we really deserved to win.”
Villas-Boas was proud of Spurs’ progress in this competition and felt that momentum was building for them. “Our big, big task is progressing through the competition all the way because of the prestige it has and the effect it can have on our season,” he said. “There’s still a long way to go but to take out two teams that are normally in the Champions League [Lyons and Inter] speaks very highly for us.”
Latest in Sport
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
Wow - what a weekend for British Motorcycle racing!
by Luke Wilkins
22 May 2013 05:00 AM
The dust is barely settling on the Premier League season and the bookies are looking to persuade us ...
by Gareth Purnell
22 May 2013 02:01 AM
Roy Hodgson shuts the England door on Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
On-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois still believes in Chelsea youth policy
Manuel Pellegrini must decide on futures of Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott as Manchester City name starting date for new manager
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll delays over West Ham move
- 1 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 2 Mothers' diets may harm IQs in two-thirds of babies
- 3 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
- 4 Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.