Gareth Bale an inspiration - Spurs' Andre Villas-Boas
Last updated on .From the section Football
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas said Gareth Bale was an inspiration to his team-mates after the Wales winger's brilliant late winner sealed a 3-2 victory over West Ham.
Bale opened the scoring and capped a fightback from 2-1 down with a dipping last-minute shot from outside the area.
"He inspires people and he is a direct influence on every single player," said Villas-Boas.
"Players like this take responsibility at key moments, he is tremendous."
Bale's stunning brace followed recent winners against Lyon, Newcastle and West Brom and a superb solo equaliser against Norwich.
It took his tally to eight goals in his last six games for Tottenham and to 19 for the season in all competitions.
"He's starting to get a liking for scoring late goals," added Villas-Boas. "The player continues to make the difference and he was tremendous once again.
"He is enjoying his football, when you see him joyful on the pitch he gives you rewards."
Asked if Bale should win the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) player of the year award, Villas-Boas added: "I think so, it would be truly deserved, but it's not up to me to make that consideration.
"You have to recognise he's having a tremendous season. So probably a contender, he is for us, hopefully he can get there."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, whose side were leading 2-1 until Gylfi Sigurdsson's 76th-minute equaliser, was similarly effusive in his praise for Tottenham's match-winner.
"We've one man to thank for tonight's result and that's Gareth Bale," he said. "He's the difference and his wonder goals are continuing.
"I can't say I've ever seen anyone score so many in such a short time. I think that's the best of the lot, and there's not a lot you can do about it at that stage of the game."
Bale refused to take sole credit for a victory which boosts Tottenham's chances of Champions League qualification, lifting them above Chelsea into third in the table ahead of Sunday's derby meeting with Arsenal.
"It's not about me, it's about the team and we played really well," he said. "We obviously wanted to get the three points to keep our Champions League hopes alive."
With Tottenham currently four points above fifth-placed Arsenal, Villas-Boas added: "The north London derby is going to be very passionate, and if we can put Arsenal seven points away it will be a big step for us.
"We know we need a bigger gap than at the moment to keep them away."