Soccer

Friday 25 July 2014

AVB 'allowed Bale time off'

Published 25/08/2013|20:17

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Gareth Bale has been linked with a move to Real Madrid all summer

Andre Villas-Boas defended Gareth Bale's decision to skip Tottenham's 1-0 win over Swansea.

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Tottenham maintained their 100 per cent start to the season as Roberto Soldado scored the winner from the penalty spot for the second successive week.

But Bale was not present for the victory as he was pictured 1,000 miles away in Marbella.

Some of Tottenham's players sit on the back row of the bench during games at White Hart Lane, but Real Madrid target Bale was not there on Sunday.

"We allowed him two days off," Villas-Boas said.

"It's not the first time this has come up. We never force non-selected players to come to our games. I decided that last season."

Bale has been linked with Madrid all summer, but if the two clubs do not agree a deal by Monday then Villas-Boas expects the 24-year-old to be back at the Spurs training ground on Tuesday for treatment on the foot injury which has supposedly prevented him from playing for the north London club.

"There is interest from Real Madrid. Whether the transfer will happen or not, hopefully you will have more news in the next couple of days but at the moment there is nothing I can tell you," Villas-Boas added.

"Tomorrow is a day off. Tuesday is training so I would expect him to be there."

Spurs have scored seven times in the three matches they have been without Bale, but they could have done with their star man on the field on Sunday.

Spurs lacked a cutting edge at times, although they should have had a penalty in the first half when Jonjo Shelvey barged Townsend over.

Neil Swarbrick awarded a free-kick outside the area instead, but after the break he did give the hosts a penalty when Townsend went over after the slightest of touches - again from Shelvey.

Villas-Boas was happy with how club record Soldado, who has four goals in three games, kept his cool to slot the penalty home.

"He is really adding to our game because he brings that life and spark into our game," Villas-Boas said of the £26million signing from Valencia.

"When he receives the ball in space he has one objective which is to beat the man. He had the opportunity after what he did against Dinamo Tbilisi and I think he took it very well."

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup criticised Swarbrick for giving Spurs the second-half spot-kick, although he conceded that the home side should have had a penalty in the first half.

"The free-kick was given outside and maybe it should have been a penalty, but the penalty in the second half wasn't a penalty," Laudrup said.

A strong performance from Tottenham's midfield denied Swansea the chance to play the possession football they love so much, but they did restrict the hosts to long-range shots for most of the encounter, much to their manager's delight.

"Tottenham are a very good team but they didn't create many chances on goal and they score from that very light penalty," Laudrup said.

"They had a couple of chances at the end of the first half but they were created by ourselves, and apart from that they had nothing."

Sunday's win ensured Villas-Boas ended a frustrating week on a high.

The Portuguese had hoped to have Willian on Tottenham's books by now but, unfortunately for Spurs, Chelsea snatched the Brazilian from underneath their noses with an 11th hour bid.

To add insult to injury, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho then publicly criticised Spurs' handling of their move for Willian.

Villas-Boas refused to criticise the player and even cracked a joke when asked about Steaua Bucharest defender Vlad Chiriches, who has agreed to join Spurs for £8.5million.

"Maybe someone will steal him as well," Villas-Boas quipped.

"But there is interest in (Chiriches)."

Press Association

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