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By ESPN Staff

Van der Vaart: Bale 'killed' Maicon in Spurs win

Rafael van der Vaart urged Tottenham to keep hold of star winger Gareth Bale after he turned in another outstanding display to help defeat European champions Inter Milan 3-1.

Forum: Can Spurs keep Bale?
• Brewin: Bale inspires glory night
• Inter Milan blog: Baled out

Bale set up easy goals for both Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko as Tottenham ran out 3-1 winners at White Hart Lane.

"He's now one of our best players, every week he's strong and everyone's scared of him,'' Van der Vaart told Sky Sports. "Tonight he's up against Maicon, one of the best defenders in the world, and he's killed him. To everyone, the whole club, we need to keep this guy.''

Bale's assists came after Van der Vaart had himself set Spurs on the way, firing home after a great run and through-ball from Luka Modric.

"I thought it was offside,'' admitted Van der Vaart, who was level when the ball was played. "I was happy to see it wasn't. It was a great goal and a great ball from Luka. It's a fantastic night to win 3-1 against the Champions League winners, a great feeling.''

Bale then took over to continue his electric run of form. "I just feel confident on the ball at the moment,'' the Welshman said. "The team is playing well, we showed that tonight and in recent games, and that lets me get forward.

"I'm just enjoying my football, trying to do what I do best and enjoying it. It was just about being given the chance and the confidence. I've been learning in training and I always knew I was capable.''

Manager Harry Redknapp hailed Bale's performance. "He was amazing,'' he said. "They're just doing some drug testing now, the dope testers are here, and I hope they're testing him. Amazing. The way the boy can run and run and run. He's against a right-back who is rated as the best right-back in the world and what he's done to him over the last two games is amazing.

"He's got everything. He's got great ability. It's not just his pace, he can run all day, and keep running. He's got the ability to cross, his left-foot is great on the run, he can shoot, dribble, head it, he's got everything. He's also a great lad. You couldn't meet a nicer, lower-maintenance boy than him. He just comes in and plays his football. Fantastic young boy.''

Bale's performance even drew praise from Inter official and legendary midfielder Luis Figo. "He said to me, 'Bale is just amazing, amazing','' Redknapp said. "When Figo says that, it's got to be good, because he was such a fantastic footballer. He said, 'He killed us twice'."

Redknapp believes Spurs fans will remember their victory for a long time to come. "It was a fantastic night,'' he said. "From the first to the last we played unbelievably. Pressed them, outworked them, outplayed them all night. It was an amazing performance from every one of them.

"We're in a good position now. It was a big game, playing Inter Milan at White Hart Lane, and everyone was here, all the Spurs fans can look back on it and I'm pleased to be part of that."

When asked if Bale would get into his side, Inter coach Rafael Benitez said: "If he plays like today, why not?" Benitez also admitted his side should have dealt with Bale and Spurs much better.

"Spurs were simply physically stronger and faster. This made the difference every time we lost the ball on their rapid counter-attacks," the Coach told Sky Italia.

"We should've dealt with Bale better in the one-on-one situations and coverage, but we didn't do that and it decided the defeat. You could really feel the atmosphere and the great focus Tottenham had in facing the champions of Europe.

"It's true that Bale had a lot of space tonight and we couldn't stop him, but people are too critical of Maicon. He had problems when defending tonight, but in attack he's always great.

"Our midfield is without Cambiasso, Motta and Stankovic, who are three players who bring quality. We have a few problems to resolve. What will I say to the lads? There isn't much to say. They know they did not play well and we will now work to prepare for the next match."


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