Gareth Bale will not return to San Siro on Thursday after being suspended for diving, but the Tottenham Hotspur manager, Andre Villas-Boas, said he was pleased the Welsh striker was out as it left him “clean” for Spurs’ likely quarter-final.
The Welsh wizard opened the scoring with a powerful header, before goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen made it 3-0 on the night.
Tottenham’s win was the only British success in Europe this week.
Earlier Thursday, Chelsea had slumped to a 1-0 loss at Steaua Bucharest while Newcastle carved out a 0-0 draw against Anzhi Makhachkala.
After a traumatic week for UK sides in the Champions League which saw Manchester United and Celtic knocked out, Chelsea, who captured the continent’s top prize last season, put in a toothless display in the Romanian capital in their last-16, first-leg tie.
Tottenham continued to impress for the remainder of the first half but were given a scare just before the interval as Inter nearly grabbed an away goal with their first meaningful attack, but Ricardo Alvarez dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area.
Bale took six minutes to put Tottenham in front as he jumped between two defenders to head in Sigurdsson’s cross. The Welshman picked up a yellow card for diving eight minutes later, which will keep him out of the second match in Italy.
Tottenham Hotspur manager, Andre Villas-Boas, said he was delighted with Spurs’ display, arguably their best of his tenure. “It was a very good performance, it was a great night of European football for us,” he said. “We really felt at half-time we could have gone further ahead. We had so many opportunities that in the end it was a great game of football, well played and we really deserved to win.”
Villas-Boas was proud of Spurs’ progress in this competition and felt that momentum was building for them. “Our big, big task is progressing through the competition all the way because of the prestige it has and the effect it can have on our season,” he said. “There’s still a long way to go but to take out two teams that are normally in the Champions League [Lyons and Inter] speaks very highly for us.”