Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

AVB loath to make Bale comparisons

Andros Townsend, second left, was in fine form against Villa and scored Spurs' opener
Andros Townsend, second left, was in fine form against Villa and scored Spurs' opener

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas claimed it was too early to start comparing Andros Townsend to Gareth Bale despite another superb performance from the winger.

Townsend, the recent hero of England's World Cup qualification, shone again with an inspirational goalscoring performance in a 2-0 win for Spurs at Aston Villa.

The 22-year-old, rewarded with a new contract this week, opened the scoring - albeit with a cross-cum-shot - in the 31st minute and tormented Villa thereafter in a rampant display.

Spurs sold Bale to Real Madrid in a world-record £86million deal in August, and despite them spending more than £100million on new players, former trainee Townsend has looked equally likely to fill the void.

Villas-Boas said: "It is early beginnings for Andros with his life at the club.

"Gareth's influence grew to be immense in the last season. It is early days for Andros.

"But I think it was a great performance. Alongside the team, it grew in the second half, and he really improved his performance.

"He gives us so many attacking options because he is able to take the team forward with his driving ability and link-up play, crossing, assisting.

"It was another great performance, like we saw for his country. It was great to see."

Townsend's performances in this month's World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland have seen his profile soar.

Villas-Boas said: "He has to cope with the amount of attention he gets but he is very grounded and down to earth.

"I don't suppose he will have any problems. Before he went to England his confidence was high.

"What he has been doing for Spurs he did for England and now he is continuing for his club."

Townsend spent the second half of last season on loan at QPR, one of nine such temporary moves in his career.

Villas-Boas said: "I think the loan really worked for him. He came with the right frame of mind to grab the opportunity.

"I think he has shown all his drive and motivation to stay at Spurs this season and we are glad to have him."

Spurs completed victory with a second goal from Roberto Soldado in the 69th minute.

The result lifted the north Londoners to fifth in the Barclays Premier League and was the perfect response after a shock 3-0 loss to West Ham last time out.

Villas-Boas said: "It was difficult in the first minutes to get hold of the ball because Villa kept putting long balls behind us.

"When we managed to get more control, from the 20th minute onwards, we managed to score and the goal gave us the confidence to play our game.

"In the second half that really showed, in a better way. We started playing much better, lots of attacking options.

"I think 2-0 is what we deserved."

Villa boss Paul Lambert felt the result was harsh on his team.

The hosts had the better chances before Townsend struck and had been threatening an equaliser when Spurs broke to claim their second.

Lambert said: "I didn't think there was much in that.

"The last couple of times Spurs have come here they have left pretty convincing winners. Today was a different game.

"There wasn't much in it in the first half and then we lost a goal. I think it is a cross and everyone has missed it and it went in.

"In the second half I thought we were in the ascendancy.

"I thought we looked like the team that was going to get it back.

"Sometimes you can come away from a game thinking you haven't given it a go, but I can't fault the lads for the way they went about it."

Villa's threatened second-half revival was prompted by the introduction of Christian Benteke from the bench on the hour.

The Belgian had missed the previous two games through injury and he had two good chances before Soldado killed the Villa challenge.

Lambert claimed he had never considered starting with Benteke.

He said: "Christian has only trained four days in a month. It is unfair on him to ask him to go straight in.

"He has trained with us a couple of days and a couple with Belgium.

"That wasn't enough to throw him into a game of that magnitude. It was never an option."

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