Gareth Bale pays tribute to team-mates after first Premier League hat-trick

Gareth Bale: Scored his first Premier League hat-trick

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Gareth Bale paid tribute to the contribution of his team-mates after scoring his first Premier League hat-trick in Tottenham Hotspur's 4-0 win over Aston Villa on Boxing Day.

The Welsh international struck three times in 23 second-half minutes at Villa Park as Andre Villas-Boas' side climbed up to fourth with their fifth win in seven matches.

Bale's treble killed off Villa after Jermain Defoe had given the visitors the lead, but the 23-year-old insisted it was a team effort.

He told the club's official website: "It was great to get the hat-trick, my first in the Premier League, but I couldn't have done it without the lads. It was a great team performance.

"The most important thing was that we got the three points. We created a lot of chances and controlled the game in the first half, probably better than the second half when we scored the goals.

"It was crucial we got the first goal and the sooner the better. That showed when we scored. In the end, we won quite comfortably."

Despite having now scored 10 times in 21 matches this season, Bale's hat-trick ended a run of five games without a goal.

He admits his mini-drought was a source if annoyance, but did not let it affect his confidence.

Bale added: "It was a frustrating but I always believed - as the manager said - that if we kept playing like we were playing, the goals would come."