Saturday 20 January 2018

Bale: ‘It was a massive game’

TOTTENHAM winger Gareth Bale admitted he was enjoying his football at the moment after he turned in another match-winning display to secure a 2-1 win over Newcastle.

Bale struck twice, either side of Yoan Gouffran's equaliser, to provisionally move Spurs up to third ahead of Chelsea's home match with Wigan this afternoon.

"It was a massive game today. It was just important to come back and put pressure on the teams above us," Bale told Sky Sports 1.

"I am enjoying my football at the moment and that's the most important thing. I'm just going to keep my head down and be focused."

Bale opened the goalscoring with a perfectly-executed free-kick, which dipped just over the wall, before his cool finish late on sealed the points.

He could even have had a hat-trick, lashing a right-footed effort over an unguarded net, while Tim Krul made some smart saves late on to deny him.

"He is definitely a great keeper. I was disappointed with the goal I missed on my right foot. I'll have to work on that," he said.

Asked about his free-kick, he added: "It's just hard work in training.

"For the other goal I work on my finishing in training. I was just happy to see it go in."

Manager Andre Villas-Boas heaped praise on Bale and said he remained confident of keeping the Wales international beyond this season despite reported growing interest.

Today's performance will hardly dim such speculation, but asked if Bale could leave Villas-Boas said: "No. I spoke to him about this at length.

"We are fortunate to have players of this dimension who can decide games."

Bale was employed through the middle for large parts today which Villas-Boas believes is helping the midfielder make an even greater impact.

"He's enjoying his football through the middle," he said.

"Today we started where he finished the second half against West Brom (last weekend).

"We gave him the same freedom. When a player feels good about the position he enjoys it more."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admitted Bale had been the difference in a match that had been closely-fought before his 78th-minute winner.

"Well he's difficult to contain. We tied him down in certain areas but he's always going to get some freedom. He was electric," he said.

"The first goal was class. We should have done better for the second."

Pardew found plenty of reason for optimism, however, as his new signings again shone following on from last weekend's 3-2 win over Chelsea.

"They started really fast, but after that we dug in and played some good stuff," he said.

"It was an even game really other than after that second goal which opened it up.

"I was pleased with the performance but not the result. We should be all right now."

The only negative was an injury to Gouffran, who was sent to have x-rays.

"His shinbone looks sore. It's fingers crossed," Pardew said.

"We don't want to lose him, he's only just come to the club."

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