• Europa League

AVB: Bale primed to torment Inter

ESPN staff
March 7, 2013

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Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has warned Europa League opponents Inter Milan that Welsh superstar Gareth Bale is even more dangerous than when the two sides last met in 2010.

Inter will not have forgotten a then 20-year-old Bale scoring a hat-trick at the San Siro before running Brazil international Maicon ragged in the return leg as the London club took out top spot ahead of the heavily favoured Serie A club in their Champions League group.

And Villas-Boas is expecting Bale to re-open the Italian club's old wounds as both sides begin their duel for a spot in the quarter-finals of the Europa League at White Hart Lane on Tbursday.

"I think Gareth has evolved as player. He is even more threatening now," the Tottenham manager told a press conference. "I remember seeing the highlights of Inter - Tottenham, and how Tottenham came back into the game late on.

"Maicon was an outstanding right-back, one of the Brazilian right-backs, so to see a young player like Gareth play like he did against him demonstrates his talent.

"Now, two years on, he plays in a different position. He's become a different player; a bigger player and a more complete player.

"He's the kind of player who can determine the outcome of a game, as we've seen in recent matches."

And despite knowing about Bale's talent's has done little to appease Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni's mind, admitting his club were facing a defensive injury crisis heading into the match.

The Nerazzurri are without Matias Silvestre and Yuto Nagatomo and could possibly also miss the services of international centre-backs Andrea Ranocchia and Walter Samuel.

"My team should be aware of Bale's strengths, but obviously, the problem now is I don't have too many players available," Stramaccioni said. "This is a very important game for us, but unfortunately we have lots of injuries.

"We gave a few of them tests this morning, but most of them are still struggling and we don't want to risk anyone.

"The Europa League is important, but we don't want anyone to get longer-term injuries. Our main target is third place in our league.

"That's why we brought six young players here. It's going to be difficult."

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