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Villas-Boas hails Bale class

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has praised Gareth Bale for his match-winning display against Lyon on Thursday.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has praised Gareth Bale for his match-winning display against Lyon on Thursday.

The Welsh attacker netted a brace of stunning free-kicks to lead his side to a 2-1 win over Lyon in the Europa League round-of-32 first leg at White Hart Lane.

Bale’s efforts left Lyon goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre with no chance on both occasions, with the movement of the free-kicks too much to deal with.

Villas-Boas was delighted by Bale and also praised the equaliser scored by Samuel Umtiti, who struck a vicious half-volley into the top corner.

“It was incredible. I think not only his all-round game but his ability to strike this free-kick,” the Portuguese tactician said of Bale.

“The ball gains so much power when he strikes it and it changes direction very easily. I think today we saw not only two moments of brilliance but three because their goal was absolutely fantastic.

“I think it played out to be an excellent game. Maybe the first half was a little bit more exciting. In the second half both teams struggled to keep the ball on the ground and struggled to get it moving. It was a bit sloppy.

“It was when we saw those moments of individual brilliance and Gareth was fantastic once again.”

Umtiti’s goal leaves Lyon with a good chance of progressing heading back to France for the return leg on February 21.

Villas-Boas said Tottenham would look to attack at the Stade de Gerland and get the away goal back.

“We are going to set up the same way – to try to attack and score,” he said.

“Even if they score before (us), we are going to attack and try to cancel out this away goal, but obviously this gives them an initial advantage.”

Lyon coach Remi Garde was left annoyed by the timing of Tottenham’s goals as Bale struck in additional time in both halves.

“I think whether you concede from a free-kick or open play it’s always the same sense of frustration,” he said.

“I think what was more frustrating tonight was when both goals came, right at the death of each half. That was probably more frustrating.

“I would like to focus on the positives and the fact that Tottenham are a side that are full of goals and have been doing quite well recently.

“I think we did well in open play to basically contain what is quite a powerful attack and I think our defence played very well in that respect.”

Fri 15 February, 2013
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