Rafael Benítez and Harry Redknapp were gushing in praise for Gareth Bale after the 21-year-old's hat-trick for ten-man Tottenham Hotspur FC in their 4-3 loss at FC Internazionale Milano.
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FC Internazionale Milano coach Rafael Benítez and his Tottenham Hotspur FC counterpart Harry Redknapp were united in their praise of Gareth Bale after the left winger scored a hat-trick in the Premier League club's 4-3 Group A defeat. While the latter said "there won't be too many in the world better than him at the moment", Benítez was also disappointed with the way the holders dropped their guard having gone in 4-0 up at half-time and a man to the good following the early dismissal of goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
Rafael Benítez, Inter coach
We played wonderfully in the first half, scoring four times and playing beautiful football, but after the break the team seemed a bit too relaxed and started to think about Sunday's game [against UC Sampdoria]. This is an important victory, but we must learn from our mistakes and avoid a repeat of what happened in the second half in the future.
[Dejan] Stanković felt some pain in his calf so I opted to replace him and hopefully his injury should not be too serious. The return match in London will be tough. Tottenham are a quality team and despite their bad start they showed what they are capable of in the second half. Though Bale scored three times, I don't think we made tactical mistakes in marking him: he was simply faster than our players on the left.
Harry Redknapp, Tottenham manager
We were bang in trouble at 4-0 down; you're looking at any kind of score. You could be sitting on the end of a seven, eight or nine [goal] defeat with ten men against Inter. I'd be a liar if I said I could see 4-3 coming, but in the second half we got at them at every opportunity. We stayed positive. I left the two wingers on and played with [Peter] Crouch up front and we had a go. It was a fantastic hat-trick from Gareth Bale, another amazing performance from him.
He's as good a left-sided player as there is anywhere; there won't be too many in the world better than him at the moment. There were opportunities to be had if we attacked them. We proved in the second half that you can attack them and score goals - we've got to be positive.