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AVB: Bale is among very best

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas believes Gareth Bale is one of the world's best players after another match-winning display from the Welsh winger.

Bale smashed in a 23-minute hat-trick as Tottenham beat Aston Villa 4-0 at Villa Park.

The 23-year-old had already twice gone close to opening the scoring in a goalless first half, before beating Brad Guzan three times following Jermain Defoe's opening strike for Spurs.

Bale has now scored 10 goals in the current campaign and asked if there were any better players in world football than Bale, Villas-Boas said: "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.

"His personality is wonderful, he is going through an excellent moment of his professional and personal life, and we are benefiting from that."

Asked if he thought Bale could get even better, Villas-Boas said: "I think so. You always expect that the team can make an individual even better.

"The team changes so much from one year to another, and as he keeps learning, he will feel even better and probably his performances will improve.

"His finishing is very accurate. He has been prolific in front of goal this season and I think he is enjoying getting into those positions.

"His left foot is wonderful and the power and direction he applies on the ball is wonderful too."

Villas-Boas admitted it had been discussed in the Tottenham camp how damaging it might be for the hosts' morale if they conceded the first goal following Villa's 8-0 thrashing at Chelsea in their last match.

"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."