Bale: We must pick ourselves up
Gareth Bale believes Tottenham can dust themselves down after their Champions League hammering by Real Madrid and qualify for next year's competition.
Spurs never recovered from Peter Crouch's needless early sending off as they were outclassed by a ruthlessly efficient Real, who have one foot in the semi-finals after an Emmanuel Adebayor double and further strikes from Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo.
"We have to pick ourselves up for the rest of the season,'' Bale said. "We can still finish fourth or higher maybe. We have to keep going. We still have the second leg and the league."
Bale believes Spurs, who are five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with eight Premier League games to play, will take lessons from their humbling in Spain.
"We are a young team that is learning and I think we can definitely learn from this.''
Bale evaded Sergio Ramos on a couple of occasions but the Welshman's influence on the game was restricted as Spurs struggled to get to grips with Real's dominance in midfield.
But, rather than blame Crouch for the loss, Bale believes the decision to award the second yellow card was harsh.
"I think the referee was a bit harsh. In the second challenge he didn't touch him really,'' Bale added. "But these things happen. Playing Real Madrid is a massive task for any team but to do it with ten men was hard for us. With 11 men on the pitch it would've been an easier game but it wasn't to be.''
While Bale accepts that Spurs face an uphill struggle to turn the tie around at White Hart Lane, he is refusing to rule out the possibility of a second leg comeback altogether.
"We have to play at our best, stop their best players and score goals at White Hart Lane. It's going to be a difficult task, everyone knows that but I still think it's possible,'' Bale said.
"We are not going to sit back and take another beating from them in the second leg. Hopefully we will win and hopefully that win will be enough. Anything can happen. We will be ready for them.''
Spurs, still without a win in all competitions since February's 1-0 victory over Milan, must find some form quickly if they are to stand a chance of catching Chelsea and Manchester City in the race for fourth in the Premier League.
That task begins on Saturday against Stoke, a game in which Bale should feature, despite limping away from the Bernabeu.
"My leg is okay. I got a bit of cramp in the second half which didn't help but I should recover from that quickly and be ready for Stoke on Saturday,'' he said.
Jermaine Jenas added: "I think the referee was a little bit rash. Maybe it was inexperience on his part more than anything. At some point you have a word, you just talk to the player, rather than dishing out cards every two minutes.
"He (Crouch) was disappointed, as any professional would be. He knew what he did probably wasn't a sensible decision, but everybody was so fired up for the game and these things can happen. As soon as it happened my heart sank. We were up against Real Madrid with 10 men for 75 minutes. We stood up to them for a bit but it wasn't enough.''