Andre Villas-Boas believes Gareth Bale will be even more of a nightmare for Inter than when he got a hat-trick. “He can determine the outcome of a game.”
The teams face off in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 16 tomorrow evening at White Hart Lane.
Nerazzurri supporters still recall when Bale ran Douglas Maicon ragged in the 2010 Champions League group phase, netting three in a 4-3 result at San Siro and helping his team to a 3-1 home victory.
“I think Gareth has evolved as player,” AVB told reporters. “He is even more threatening now.
“I remember seeing the highlights of Inter - Tottenham, and how Tottenham came back into the game late on.
“Maicon was an outstanding right-back, one of the Brazilian right backs, so to see a young player like Gareth play like he did against him demonstrates his talent.
“Now, two years on, he plays in a different position. He's become a different player, a bigger player, and a more complete player.
“He's the kind of player who can determine the outcome of a game, as we've seen in recent matches.”
Welsh international Bale has already scored 20 goals this season, but Emmanuel Adebayor is likely to miss out with a knee injury. There are also reports Brad Friedel will be picked in goal rather than Hugo Lloris.
Inter are struggling with injuries and have several players cup-tied, as Rodrigo Palacio and Antonio Cassano are the only real available strikers.
“It’s a big game and an important week for the club, we've had some big games and we want to continue doing well,” added the Portuguese Coach.
“We will treat it as seriously as we have done before. We probably face the biggest team involved in the last 16. Inter are rebuilding their squad. They have invested in young players and are a club in change. But they're involved in three competitions. The Europa League means a lot to them, as it does to us.
“Inter are very experienced in Europe, we need to be aware of their strengths and they will need to be aware of ours. We don't want to concede, we want to avoid that and take an advantage to Milan. We want to be as good as we have been.”
Villas-Boas is no stranger to Inter, as he worked there for 18 months as their head scout under Jose Mourinho.
“Leaving Inter was a difficult moment of my professional life. At that time I was scouting for Jose and I wanted to be a little bit more involved with first-team training. It was a difficult step to take, but it was probably the right one.”