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’
White Hart Lane
Friday 08 March 2013
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
Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: Louis van Gaal admits interest in Real Madrid forward - 'it is possible'
Rio Ferdinand mocks Jamie Carragher's Liverpudlian accent... but Liverpool man hits back at Londoner
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Leicester City vs Manchester United: Premier League match preview
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes