Quick links

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham are now 'serious title contenders', claims Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale believes Tottenham Hotspur have established themselves as "serious contenders" for the Premier League title.

Tottenham are now 'serious title contenders', claims Gareth Bale The Wales international rounded off a sensational year on a personal level with the second goal in yesterday's 2-0 home win over Newcastle United, which kept his team within striking distance of the top of the table.

But as he looked ahead to 2011, he outlined bold ambitions which reinforce how he has grown in confidence over the past 12 months. Tottenham kick off the new year at home to Fulham on Saturday, when they intend to add to their festive victories over Aston Villa and Newcastle, which were each secured with 10 men.

"You can see how confident we are," Bale said. "Even playing with 10 men, we just attack all the time. We are right in the mix in the table and there is no reason why we can't push now for the title. We are all close, we fight for each other on the pitch, we all get on and that shows on the pitch. That's why the results are coming in.

"Every game at the moment is massive, with all the top teams picking up points. We have to make sure we stay in the mix and we are there at the end of the season. There is no reason why we can't be serious contenders. We have a great squad and are putting in great performances."

Harry Redknapp, the manager, has said Tottenham are two top-class signings away from being potential champions yet if he is to make them next month, he must first clear room in his squad.

Redknapp named the full complement of 25 senior players on the list he submitted to the Premier League after the closure of the summer transfer window, with Kyle Naughton, who was loaned to Leicester City in October, among the number. Naughton is due back at Tottenham next month, while Jonathan Woodgate, who was not included in the 25 because of his long-term groin injury, hopes to force his way back.

A problem for Redknapp further down the line is that Bale, Sandro and Giovani dos Santos, who qualified as supplementary under-21 players this season, become recognised as senior players next time out, meaning the manager may be under pressure to sell in the summer. Redknapp would consider offers for Robbie Keane, David Bentley, Jamie O'Hara, Niko Kranjcar, Giovani and Naughton.

It is difficult to remember a more open Premier League title race, which is firing Tottenham's dreams, and the same is true regarding the improvement of a single player during one calendar year. Bale did not start a Premier League fixture last season until 16 January because of injury and his place down the pecking order but, after getting his break, he has not looked back.

He spearheaded Tottenham's assault on a fourth-placed league finish, scoring the winning goals against Arsenal and Chelsea while this time out he has taken every aspect of his game to the next level.

His goal against Newcastle was his 10th of the season, making him the club's joint-top scorer with Rafael van der Vaart, and his electric performances, particularly in the Champions League, have brought him global acclaim.

"The year has been great," he said. "All I have done is concentrate hard on improving my game and we just want to keep going now in 2011. It's always nice to score and getting that many in the first half of the season is great. I didn't set myself any targets. I just want as many goals as I can get."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by David Hytner, for The Guardian on Wednesday 29th December 2010 22.30 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch