AVB backs Bale for top award

Gareth Bale

Andre Villas-Boas

First published in Premier League

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas believes Gareth Bale deserves to be named as the Barclays Premier League's player of the year this season after seeing the Wales winger produce yet another match-winning display at Upton Park this evening.

Bale scored a fantastic brace, including a stunning last-gasp winner, as Spurs moved up to third with a 3-2 win over London rivals West Ham.

The 23-year-old opened the scoring before the Hammers hit back through an Andy Carroll penalty and a well-taken Joe Cole effort.

Substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson scored his first league goal to equalise for Spurs before Bale claimed the points for the visitors with a brilliant long-range effort.

Villas-Boas, who shared a celebratory embrace with Spurs' two-goal hero at the final whistle, was left enthusing about Bale's quality and reckons he is worthy of personal accolades come the end of the season.

When asked if he felt Bale could win the player of the year award he replied: "I think so, it would be truly deserved, but not up to me to make that consideration.

"But you have to recognise he's having a tremendous season. So probably a contender, he is for us, hopefully he can get there.

"He is a great, great talent and to see him keep trying in the last minute exemplifies the talent that he is.

"Taking the ball, receiving it, getting fouled in between, getting up - he has got stick for staying down - but he gets up and gets on with business and managed to score a great goal."

Spurs have scored important late goals recently with Mousa Dembele's injury-time strike sealing Europa League progression at the expense of Lyon and Clint Dempsey hitting a late equaliser at home to league leaders Manchester United.

Villas-Boas could not put his finger on why his side had made a habit out of leaving it late but feels once a team knows they can grab a goal in the dying seconds it gives them belief they can repeat it.

"I've done nothing," he said. "It is just the players who believe, the more often we score late the more often we score again.

"I think it has a knock-on effect, normally when you suffer late goals you suffer more because you believe and when you score you believe [you can do it again], we are enjoying it."

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce had suggested in the lead-up to the game that Bale's valuation would sit somewhere around the £50million mark and admitted tonight the former Southampton youngster leaves defenders in a quandary when it comes to stopping him.

"If you get too tight he skips past you, if you stand off him he hits them like that [the winning goal]," he said.

"You have got to admire the quality of the goal. We've heard a lot about Michu at Swansea and what [Robin] Van Persie has done for Manchester United but at the moment there's nobody doing more for a football club than Gareth Bale for Tottenham, by the quality of goals he is scoring and consistent level of goals.

"I am not sure anybody else has scored for them recently, and every goal he seems to be getting is outside the box as well."

Allardyce was left aggrieved by referee Howard Webb's decision to not reduce the visitors to 10 men.

Dembele was booked for a challenge in the first half but escaped punishment for a number of misdemeanours before being substituted by Villas-Boas.

"A disappointing situation that I feel has to be pointed at by me, Howard Webb has to send Dembele off," said Allardyce.

"The laws we're told what they have to do, we are told they have to do - the foul on (Kevin) Nolan is a booking, then he fouls Mohamed Diame, and look at what our players have been booked for.

"Then early into the second half he pulls Joe Cole, the third one, then kicks the ball 20 yards away. All day long Mike Riley tells us that's a booking, so it would be 10-men Tottenham.

"It is disappointing for me, but at end of all that we have given it our best shot, I'm very disappointed we haven't got any points out of it."

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