Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale has brought his side's Champions League qualification hopes down to earth with a bang with news that his ankle problem which forced him to miss two successive games prior to the win over Manchester City requires continued attention.
After Samir Nasri's fifth minute opener, Bale crossed for Clint Dempsey to equalise and after Jermain Defoe slammed Spurs ahead, the Welshman made it three with a dinked finish over Joe Hart.
But his inspirational performance has been tempered with the news that his ankle injury, which he picked in the Europa League quarter final first leg against FC Basel, continues to hamper him. But the 23 year old wants to play through the pain barrier to secure a top four finish.
"It was touch and go whether I was going to play - but thankfully I got through it okay," Bale said.
"It was a bit sore in the first half but I got more confident in the second half. It hurts but it's just about managing it and carrying on."
Victory over City leaves Andre Vilas-Boas' side five wins away from qualifying for the Champions League for the first time for three years.
Villas-Boas claimed last week that Bale would not be hindered by the ankle problem, which saw him leave the field a fortnight ago with Spurs' European dream hanging by a thread.
Bale, who has scored 23 goals and made 10 assists this season, remains the bookmakers' favourite to claim the Professional Footballers' Associations Players' Player of the Year award this weekend ahead of Manchester United's Robin van Persie and Liverpool's Luis Suarez.
And AVB is adamant Tottenham's prized asset is worthy of his favourite tag after a stunning season for the north Londoners.
"Obviously Gazza has had an outstanding year, along with other players," Villas-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 goalscoring 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."