Spurs extend Bale break
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has given star winger Gareth Bale extended leave after he became a father for the first time.
Bale, 23, was allowed to skip Tottenham's crucial Premier League encounter with Chelsea last weekend after his partner Emma Rhys-Jones went into labour before she gave birth on Sunday.
Now Bale has been excused for Thursday night's Europa League trip to Maribor, with a compassionate Villas-Boas hoping the time he is being given to spend with his young family will see him spring back into action in top form against his former club Southampton in the Premier League this Sunday.
"Gareth is allowed to stay with his family at this time," confirmed Villas-Boas, who is himself a father of two young girls. "It has been very emotional for him and many of us can associate with what he is experiencing, so it is right for him to take time away. We have no doubts about his mental state when he returns for the Southampton game."
France captain Hugo Lloris will be back in goal for Tottenham as they travel to Slovenia, yet the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor from the travelling party has fuelled suspicions that he has fallen out of favour under Villas-Boas.
"When we speak about his playing time since he came to the club on a permanent deal, certainly Ade is not a happy player, but the reality is he has been missing lots of games due to injury," stated the Spurs boss, who said Adebayor missed this European trip due to a back problem.
"Things are going well for Jermain Defoe at the moment and that makes it difficult for Ade to get the playing time he deserves. The situation is the structure we are using now features Jermain and all we can say is a player of Ade's dimension can be important to come into the team at any time."
Villas-Boas has piled the pressure on his players ahead of the game against Maribor by claiming they need to win this latest Europa League tie. After starting their campaign with two draws against Lazio and Panathinaikos, and his passion for the competition he won as boss of Porto ensures he will field a strong side against a team running away with their domestic league championship.
"Our two games with Maribor will be decisive in this group and with the players we have in our team, we should be performing well," he added. "However, when you look at Braga pushing Manchester United so close in the Champions League, two teams of completely opposite dimensions, you realise not everything is so obvious in this game.
"We do not expect an easy game. Maribor is a very well run club who have won many titles in the last ten years and they have passionate supporters, but we should feel confident in our abilities."