Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas hailed Gareth Bale as one of the world's best players after the winger notched his first Barclays Premier League hat-trick in this evening's 4-0 victory at Aston Villa.
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Bale was the undoubted star of the show at Villa Park, twice going close to netting in a goalless first half and then, after Jermain Defoe had given Spurs the lead in the 57th minute, beating goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 61st, 73rd and 84th to give the scoreline a look that more accurately reflected the visitors' dominance throughout the contest.
It took the 23-year-old Wales international - scorer of a famous treble in Tottenham's Champions League clash with Inter Milan in 2010-11 - to 10 goals for the current campaign,
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."
Following Defoe's effort through Guzan's legs, Bale - who Villas-Boas is adamant the club will not be losing in the January transfer window - finished a counter-attack to make it 2-0 by rounding the American goalkeeper and slotting home, before converting tee-ups from Aaron Lennon and substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson.
While Tottenham's push for Champions League football continues, with them moving up to fourth, things are looking worrying for Villa, who have now conceded 12 goals in two games.
They went into this match looking to bounce back from the 8-0 mauling they suffered at Chelsea three days ago but instead were beaten heavily again.
And given the impact that result at Stamford Bridge will have had on the confidence of Villa's young players, 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 today.
"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."
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert tried to put a brave face.
Asked if the Chelsea and Spurs losses had come out of the blue after impressive cup and league wins at Norwich and Liverpool, Lambert said: "I'm not surprised by anything in football.
"Things can happen. You know it can happen, especially when you are playing one of the top sides."
Villa's defeat leaves them fifth-from-bottom with the worst goal difference in the Premier League.