Bale booking is no problem as AVB eyes clean slate for Europa quarters
PUBLISHED: 07:37 08 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:04 08 March 2013
Andre Villas-Boas was glad Gareth Bale received a booking in Tottenham's win over Inter Milan because it will clear him to play in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Tottenham took a giant step towards the last eight of the competition last night when they beat Inter 3-0 thanks a goals from Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Jan Vertonghen.
Bale performed superbly throughout the game, but the gloss was taken off his efforts slightly by a first half booking for diving.
Replays showed the 23-year-old, who caused Inter so many problems in the Champions League two seasons ago, went down easily under minimal pressure from Walter Gargano.
Villas-Boas shrugged off yet another Bale diving incident and even suggested he may have even considered asking the Wales international to collect a booking on purpose to clear his suspension out of the way for the latter stages.
“It is a difficult decision for the ref,” the Tottenham manager said.
“I won’t build on that case. I don’t want to go into that, we have a wonderful player to enjoy and it is ridiculous if we go on like that.
“He is obviously a great miss but to be fair, probably with this result we would have asked him to get the yellow card to be clean and ready for the last eight.”
Bale nodded Spurs ahead with his 21st goal of the campaign and set Vertonghen up for the hosts’ third after Sigurdsson took advantage of Samir Handanovic’s error to make it 2-0.
Much has been made of Tottenham’s reliance on Bale this term, but Villas-Boas is confident his men will be able to seal their progression to the quarter-finals in next Thursday’s second leg at the San Siro without him.
“We are in a good position but it is not finished so we will miss Gareth because he has been influential in consecutive games but hopefully we can make it without him,” the Portuguese said.
“He is a tremendous player so obviously he is going to be missed but an opportunity might arise for another player.”