Villas-Boas: Manchester City 'fear' Bale
Andre Villas-Boas believes Manchester City are 'fearful' of Gareth Bale's return to the Tottenham squad.
The midfielder has been forced onto the sidelines for the past two weeks following an ankle injury he picked up against Basel in the Europa League first leg, amid fears he would miss the rest of the season.
But Villas-Boas believes that Bale's return will help give Tottenham a boost over the coming weeks as they hunt for a top-four spot, starting on Sunday when Manchester City travel to White Hart Lane.
"I think there will be a fear factor for City. We recognise the impact this player has had for us this season. The run of goals that he is on can have that factor," he said.
"It is good having key players around and players who have been decisive, especially in this last part of the season, is always inspirational for everyone. It is good to have him back.
"For him to be back so quickly speaks highly of our medical department and what they have done and the recovery of the player."
The former Porto boss also praised Bale for his PFA Player and Young Player of the Year nominations - recognition which the manager feels the Welshman fully deserves.
"Obviously Gazza (Bale) has had an outstanding year, along with other players," Villa-Boas added.
"I think we've seen a great season from Robin van Persie, a great season from Luis Suarez and a great season from Bale. But I think Gareth's in with a big chance for what he has produced this season - we've seen some spectacular moments.
"I think he is a serious contender and all of us would be very happy if he was to win. He's had a tremendous impact on the league this year.
"He's been in great goal-scoring form and he's played in so many different positions with such success. His maturity and responsibility is outstanding, so it's good to see."