AVB dismisses Bale exit speculation

Manager Andre Villas-Boas heaped praise on Bale and said he remained confident of keeping the winger beyond this season despite reported growing interest.

Gareth Bale

The fact that Bale scored both goals in his side's 2-1 win over Newcastle performance will hardly dim such speculation, but asked if Bale could leave Villas-Boas said: "No. I spoke to him about this at length.

"We are fortunate to have players of this dimension who can decide games."

Bale was employed through the middle for large parts which Villas-Boas believes is helping the midfielder make an even greater impact.

"He's enjoying his football through the middle," he said.

"Today [Saturday] we started where he finished the second half against West Brom (last weekend).

"We gave him the same freedom. When a player feels good about the position he enjoys it more."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admitted Bale had been the difference in a match that had been closely-fought before his 78th-minute winner.

"Well he's difficult to contain. We tied him down in certain areas but he's always going to get some freedom. He was electric," he said.

"The first goal was class. We should have done better for the second."

Pardew found plenty of reason for optimism, however, as his new signings again shone following on from last weekend's 3-2 win over Chelsea.

"They started really fast, but after that we dug in and played some good stuff," he said.

"It was an even game really other than after that second goal which opened it up.

"I was pleased with the performance but not the result. We should be all right now."

The only negative was an injury to Gouffran, who was sent to have x-rays.

"His shinbone looks sore. It's fingers crossed," Pardew said.

"We don't want to lose him, he's only just come to the club."

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