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Apr 20, 2013

AVB: Bale will be the difference

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas believes Gareth Bale will bring the fear factor into his side when they take on Manchester City at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

• Bale expected to return
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• Blog: Why Spurs no longer laugh at City

Bale has made an impressively speedy recovery from the twisted ankle he suffered in the Europa League tie against FC Basel on April 4 and looks set to start for Spurs in their clash with the Premier League champions.

Villas-Boas believes Bale's presence on his team-sheet is a huge boost to his side after a dip in form that has seen Tottenham slip out of the top four.

The Portuguese manager suggested the Welshman will give his side a threat that will unnerve Roberto Mancini's in-form team.

"There can be a fear factor if he plays," said Villas-Boas of Bale. "We recognise the impact this player has had for us this season. His run of goals that he is on, he can have a big factor.

"It's good to have him around in this final part of the season. He can be an inspiration to everybody. When you look at the images that we saw (of his twisted ankle), it is good to have him back so quickly. This speaks highly of the medical staff at the club. Our squad is full of good players, but Bale can make a difference."

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas is predicting his side's game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, re-scheduled for Wednesday May 8, will be a decisive shoot-out in the race for a top four finish.

The Spurs boss believes Arsenal have an easier fixture list for the remaining of the season than all of the Champions League hopefuls and insists his return to the club that sacked him a little over a year ago will decide his current employers' fate.

"The Chelsea game could be crucial, it could well decide who will qualify for the Champions League," he adds. "A lot depends now on what we do with our game in hand and if we get the right result, it will all still be in our hands.

"Our commitment, desire and ambition to reach the top four has never been in doubt.I don't doubt it any less now that we find ourselves in this position. We have done a couple of mistakes recently that have contributed to us conceding some goals and we have to try and solve this problem.

"Probably I would have accepted this position at the start of the season if it was offered to me. Six games to go, a game in hand, very close to the top four. The only thing is we have been in a better position than this before so it doesn't feel so good now."

Villas-Boas admitted it would be "very difficult" for winger Aaron Lennon to play in Sunday's game against City as he has yet to shake off the effects of the injury he sustained against FC Basel.

However, Bale and striker Jermain Defoe are fit for a game that offers Tottenham the potential to revive their faltering season.

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