Bale eyeing twin success
Tottenham forward Gareth Bale is determined to end the week inside the top four of the Barclays Premier League and with a second Player of the Year award on his mantelpiece.
Bale returned from a two-and-a-half week injury absence on Sunday to help inspire Spurs to a dramatic 3-1 victory over reigning champions Manchester City. Bale's strike took his tally for the season to 23 - a highly impressive achievement which means he is the odds-on favourite to win the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year gong on Saturday.
"It's massive. It's great for your peers to vote for you," said Bale, who is also up for the Young Player of the Year award. "Hopefully I do win. To be nominated is fantastic and fingers crossed (I do win)."
Although manager Andre Villas-Boas changed the game against City with his substitutions, Bale's contribution was also key to the win, which came after Samir Nasri had put City ahead.
Bale curled a peach of a pass across the box to Clint Dempsey, who started off the comeback, and the Welshman scored himself eight minutes from time with a clever chip over Joe Hart to seal the win after Jermain Defoe had scored Spurs' second.
Ever the selfless man, Bale was keen to ensure his double nomination did not take the focus off what was a crucial win for Spurs. The forward even played down his own contribution, merely describing his goal, which came after a brilliant slide-rule pass from Tom Huddlestone as "all right".
For, as everyone has been pointing out at White Hart Lane all season, Spurs are not a one-man team, and that showed on Sunday.
Spurs will move a point clear of third-placed Arsenal, who play Manchester United on Sunday, if they beat Wigan the day before, and Bale wants to see his team-mates show the same kind of fighting spirit for the remainder of the season.
"We knew it was a massive game and the lads showed what we have in the team - a lot of character," Bale added on Spurs TV Online.
"It was a fantastic turnaround. We need to keep that character, team spirit, and togetherness in to the last five games and push for our objectives this season."