Villas-Boas: Bale 'up there with the best'
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas hailed Gareth Bale one of the best players in the world after his hat-trick against Aston Villa.
The Welsh winger was the star as Tottenham brushed past Villa 4-0 on Wednesday, with Jermain Defoe also netting.
Villas-Boas had nothing but praise for the 23-year-old Bale, who has been linked with a move away from the White Hart Lane club.
"He is up there with the best. He is showing tremendous skills and talent, I think he is improving every day – he is such a young player – and he is helping the team. He is one of our major assets," Villas-Boas said.
"His personality is wonderful, he is going through an excellent moment of his professional and personal life, and we are benefiting from that."
The result marked a second straight thrashing for Aston Villa, who were hammered 8-0 by Chelsea on Sunday.
Villas-Boas said his team had spoken about that result prior to the game and felt the first goal could unsettle Paul Lambert's men.
"We mentioned it between us after that result," Villas-Boas said.
"There is always the game in which you have to try to come back from such a negative situation, and Villa were putting their efforts towards that in this game.
"But for us, it was important to get that (first) goal, because we knew emotionally it could have that kind of effect, making them unstable in some way."
Aston Villa manager Lambert remains confident his side, who are three points clear of 18th-placed Wigan, can turn their season around.
"We rode our luck massively in the first half because Spurs were very good," Lambert said.
"They will be fine. Whether we win, lose or draw … we always try to treat them the same way and try to keep their spirits the same.
"One thing in football is that you can't dwell on it and you have to bounce back. There is no other way."