- Premier League
Villas-Boas hails 'monster' Bale
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has revealed that Gareth Bale played a key role in the decision to name him in the Spurs starting line-up for Sunday's game against Manchester City at White Hart Lane.
Bale made a surprisingly swift recovery from an ankle injury in the Europa League tie against FC Basel on April 4, and was back to his inspirational best as Spurs came from behind to beat Premier League champions City 3-1.
"We had discussions with Gareth about his injury and he gave us the green light," Villas-Boas told the BBC after watching the Welshman provide an assist for Tottenham's equalising goal and then go on to score their third.
"Gareth is a monster physically. All the credit goes to him for hanging on for the full 90 minutes and playing so well. He produced a great, great performance."
The Spurs boss predicted that the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League will be tension filled for the next month, after a weekend that ended with four challengers Chelsea dropping two valuable points in their 2-2 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
"It will go down to the wire, maybe to the Chelsea fixture against us," he said, referring to the rearranged game at Stamford Bridge on May 8. "The destiny is on our own hands and we have to continue to gather as many points as possible, which will be extremely difficult.
"We have a tough game against Wigan next, but it is good to have players like Gareth, Jermain Defoe and hopefully Aaron Lennon available. We also hope Younes Kaboul can still play a part in this season."
Villas-Boas suggested his tactical substitutions were crucial in his side's thrilling late comeback to beat City in front of a passionate crowd, as he identified a weakness in the make-up of his opponents and gave his players credit for exploiting that flaw.
"We had trouble in the beginning to find the spaces out wide. City narrow the game by allowing their wingers to come inside and we didn't get into wide positions and it was difficult for us to remove the pressure," he added.
"It was a case of holding on to a 1-0 difference at half-time and in the second half, we recognised that the spaces were in the side areas and also we started to play with a little more confidence.
"The determination was there in the first and second half, but the organisation was better in the second half and it is a credit to everyone in the squad that we could turn it around in the second half. It is a big win, but now we have to keep pushing.
"The players who came off the bench impacted the game massively and all credit to them for that. They showed a great determination."