Swansea City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 match report: Gareth Bale confident of Champions League chances
Sunday 31 March 2013
Gareth Bale, Tottenham's man of the moment, claims he is on the verge of fulfilling his dream of taking the club back into the Champions League.
The Welshman continued his scintillating form with his 22nd club goal of the season in addition to the assist and delicious pass for team-mate Jan Vertonghen's seventh-minute opener in the 2-1 success at Swansea City.
Michu halved the deficit with 19 minutes remaining, but victory allowed Andre Villas-Boas's smart outfit to leapfrog Chelsea into third place and edges them back towards a passage into Europe's elite competition – which was taken away from them last season when the Blues lifted the European Cup.
Bale said: "We are in a great position to reach the Champions League again and that is definitely the most important thing. We're still in the running for our objectives and hopefully we can fulfil them.
"It was important for us to get a win. We'd lost the last three of our games in all competitions so it was important to stop the rot and try and kick on and make our season as good as possible.
"We knew we had to get off to a good start, build the confidence from there and I think we showed that we can attack and defend.
"It was a great result for us so, hopefully, we can keep this run going."
Ultimately, Bale's contribution was the difference in south Wales. His pass for Vertonghen's goal was sublime, but he quickly followed that up with a stunning 21st-minute strike which left Michel Vorm stranded.
Bale added: "It was a nice strike, I caught it clean and it was just great to see it go in the back of the net.
"But the most important thing for us was to get the three points and looking at other results like Chelsea's takes us back into third."
Tottenham, who expect first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to return to training today after a minor knee injury, now prepare for their Europa League quarter-final first leg tie against Basel at White Hart Lane this week.
Manager Villas-Boas hopes his men can maintain their assault on a top four berth and winning silverware.
Villas-Boas said: "We dream of winning trophies so our focus on the Europa League won't shift. We understand that we have to keep the team fresh and we are able to rotate it as we have those top quality players that allow us to do so. Now we have the Europa quarter-finals and we can only dream of winning the trophy although I understand that it is always the league position that determines the success of the season.
"We just have to avoid injuries and recover the players. The fixture calendar is very tight. Every top team that plays in Europe has to deal with this.
"It is something the players have to get used to. The motivation of a Europa League trophy is fantastic."
Goals: Swansea City Michu 71. Tottenham Hotspur Vertonghen 7, Bale 21. Subs: Swa Ki 6 (De Guzman, 56), Monk 6 (Chico, 67), Schechter (Hernandez, 79). Tott Defoe 6 (Adebayor, 61), Holtby (Sigurdsson, 76). Booked: Swan Michu, Davies. Tott Adebayor, Walker, Holtby, Parker. Man of match Bale. Match rating 7/10. Possession: Swansea 57%. Tottenham 43%. Attempts on target: Swansea 3. Tottenham 7. Referee A Taylor (Cheshire). Attendance 20,604.
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