Spurs are more than happy to play with 10 men, says Gareth Bale
TOTTENHAM have proved over Christmas that they are just as dangerous with 10 men as they are with 11, according to Gareth Bale.
Spurs had a man sent off in each of their festive fixtures, with Jermain Defoe seeing red at Villa Park on Boxing Day and Younes Kaboul receiving his marching orders against Newcastle at White Hart Lane on Tuesday.
Despite those handicaps, Harry Redknapp’s side banked all six points on offer over the festive period, defying a numerical disadvantage to break away and score a crucial second goal in both matches.
“I definitely think that sometimes, in a way, being down to 10 men helps me and Azza [Lennon] on the wings – we can counter-attack them at times because they push so many players forward.
“We showed that against Aston Villa and again against Newcastle,” said Bale, who scored the second goal in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over the Magpies.
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“Obviously it would be nicer to play with 11 men but with 10 we’re strong as well. It’s difficult to play with a man down but I think the lads have shown what we’re made of.
“We’ve got a good work ethic. As you’ve seen on the pitch, we all stick together and show the character that we’ve got, and to grind out another victory with 10 men was great.
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“Everybody fights for each other, we’re a very close squad. We all get on with each other, I think it shows on the pitch and that’s why the results are coming.
“As you’ve seen against Newcastle and Aston Villa, we’re fully confident in ourselves, with 10 men as well.
“We attack teams all the times and we’re up the mix right about now in the table, and there’s no reason why we can’t push for the title.
“Every game at the moment is massive. All the top teams are picking up points so we need to stay in there with them and put ourselves in the mix until the end of the season.
“There’s no reason why we can’t be part of the title race, we’ve got a great team and a great squad.
“We just want to keep plugging away, getting as many points we can, and hopefully we can be there at the end.”
Bale’s goal against Newcastle took his tally to 10 goals for the first half of the season, but the Welshman was quick to divert the attention onto Tottenham’s rearguard.
Spurs kept only their fourth clean sheet of the season against Alan Pardew’s team – their first in the league since the opening day of the campaign – and Bale feels that the shut-out was a long-overdue reward for the performances of goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
“It’s great, especially for Gomes, who’s been outstanding all season, making unbelievable saves,” said Bale.
“It will obviously give us a bit more confidence at the back now to keep clean sheets, and then on the other hand hopefully we’ll keep scoring goals.
“For me personally, Gomes is the best goalkeeper in the league. He pulls out saves from nowhere – he’s so lanky!
“He’s shown for a long while now what a high-class keeper he is, he pulls out incredible saves every week and when a clean sheet comes his way he deserves it. Hopefully he can keep a lot more in the future.
“I think some of the press he gets is unfair. If you’ve watched him this season he’s made some of the best saves I’ve ever seen in my life. Yes, sometimes keepers do make mistakes and some of them go into the net, but that’s just a part of football. He’s been outstanding since I’ve been here, he’s definitely one of the best in the Premier League.”
“Having Michael Dawson back is vital as well, he leads us at the back and he showed that against Newcastle. He marshalled the back four and it’s great to have him back. Hopefully we can keep him there for the rest of the season now.”