Spurs won't miss Gareth Bale, insists Andre Villas-Boas

Manager has options to cover for player who has scored in past eight wins

New Year's day, a 3-1 victory at home to Reading – the last game Tottenham won without the help of a goal from Gareth Bale. The Welshman has scored in all eight of Spurs's subsequent wins in all competitions, but the ankle ligament injury he sustained late in Thursday's Europa League tie against FC Basel (a 2-2 draw, Bale did not score), which will sideline him for two weeks, means that Andre Villas-Boas must now try to prove against Everton today that he is not the manager of a one-man team.

Among the candidates to replace Bale against David Moyes's men are Clint Dempsey, Gylfi Sigurdsson and boyhood Everton fan Lewis Holtby, all potentially worthy contributors, but none exactly coveted by Real Madrid as Bale is, and all further hampered by the fact that they are liable to be asked to play off the languid Emmanuel Adebayor rather than the more obviously workaholic and single-minded Jermain Defoe, who is also injured.

Villas-Boas, though, insists that he has the players to cover the absence of the favourite to land every player-of-the-season award going as well as the missing Defoe and Aaron Lennon. "We've had his [Bale's] absence before in different parts of the season and others have stepped up," he said. "When an injury happens to a player who has played most of the time it is a chance for another player. We have those players. Sigurdsson is in good goalscoring form. He scored in two internationals [most recently a brace for Iceland in a World Cup qualifier away to Slovenia 16 days ago] and then against Basel. And we saw Holtby at a very good level."

However, Holtby, a £1.5m signing from Schalke in January, has yet to score and has recently been playing in Bale's former attacking left-sided role. Villas-Boas explained: "There was a time when we found comfort in 4-4-2 and when we shifted Gareth to the striker position we stopped playing with a player behind the striker, so our formation changed and that meant that Holtby had to adapt to the wing.

"We have a very strong squad. We rotate quite frequently and the quality of the squad enables us to do that. We will rotate for Everton because we have injuries that will give opportunities to a couple of players. We've played different goalkeepers and defenders in the Europa League and Premier League. It is part of every squad. Fresh legs are as important as players who play every week."

Some might wonder, therefore, why Villas-Boas did not follow that strategy with Bale and keep him back for today's League game rather than field him on Thursday in a lesser competition than the Champions' League that Spurs fans desperately want to reach again. But Villas-Boas gives equal weight to landing silverware and finishing third or fourth.

"Both competitions are the same," he said. "Injuries always come at bad times. You want to avoid them but they happen. If we ignore the negatives, the good thing is, these players should only miss two games."

That is made more likely by the postponement of next weekend's Stamford Bridge showdown with Chelsea, two points behind Spurs with a game in hand, because Villas-Boas's former club are in the FA Cup semi-finals. Chelsea's busy fixture list could assist Tottenham's cause, although Villas-Boas played down the positive effects for his team.

"They still have two trophies to play for and are going at them with ambitions to win them, but their squad is full of amazing players."

Like Spurs, Everton have selection problems, with Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar suspended, but have won three of the last four between these clubs, most recently at home in December. Bale was absent then, and one imagine's that the Merseysiders won't be sorry to miss the chance of another close look.

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton is on ESPN today, kick-off 2.05pm

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders