Gareth Bale insists Tottenham Hotspur can still make the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, despite last night's thrashing at the Bernabeu. Spurs' remarkable debut season in the competition looks to have come to an end after Real Madrid hammered home four goals without reply in the first leg of their quarter-final yesterday evening.
Emmanuel Adebayor, twice, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria were all on target as the Premier League outfit struggled to recover from Peter Crouch's early dismissal, and they now go into next week's second leg as huge underdogs. Harry Redknapp admitted that his side were facing an uphill task to stay in the tournament, but Bale refused to throw the towel in, insisting that he and his team-mates will not roll over at White Hart Lane next Wednesday.
"We have to play at our best, stop their best players and score goals at White Hart Lane," said the 21-year-old. "It's going to be a difficult task, everyone knows that, but I still think it's possible.
"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."
Tottenham have not won a match since February, when they beat AC Milan in the San Siro to set themselves en route to a place in the last eight. The run has hit their hopes of qualifying for next year's Champions League, and they now trail fourth-placed Chelsea by five points with just eight rounds remaining in the Premier League.
Bale, who was one of a few visiting players to come out of last night's match with his head held high, hopes the defeat does not dent Spurs' confidence, and has called on his team-mates to resurrect their league form quickly. "We have to pick ourselves up for the rest of the season," the Welshman said.
"We can still finish fourth or higher maybe. We have to keep going. We still have the second leg and the league. We are a young team that is learning, and I think we can definitely learn from this."
Stoke in Bale's sights
Bale was an injury doubt before the match thanks to a hamstring injury he picked up on international duty two weeks ago. The winger, who has recently spent two months on the sidelines with a back problem, is optimistic that his injury troubles are now behind him.
"My leg is ok," he said. "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."