- Europa League
Bale paying no attention to Real Madrid link
Tottenham winger Gareth Bale admitted he is in career-best form after another eye-catching display against Lyon, and insisted he pays no attention to rumours of a move to Real Madrid.
Bale, 23, continued his remarkable match-winning form with two superb free-kicks - including one with the last kick of the game - to help Spurs defeat Lyon 2-1 in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie. Bale, however, feels he can still get better.
"It's probably the best I've been playing so far in my career," he said. "I'm enjoying my football and the team's playing well, which obviously makes it easier for me. I've just got to keep my head down, keep working hard, keep trying to keep my form.
"I've still got a lot of improvement. I know what I've got to do, season after season improving in all areas. I just want to keep doing that, keep working hard and, hopefully, keep getting better."
Bale's match-winning performance came down to such an attitude. The free-kicks, he revealed, were the result of long sessions on the training ground.
"I knew it was the last kick of the game but I had to get it up and over the wall and thankfully I saw it go in," Bale said. "I've been practising for a while now, all sorts of distances. It was just nice to see them go in. It's one of them things I think if you keep practicing, it does come off in a match."
Bale's rich vein of form has made him Tottenham's saviour in recent weeks. It has been five matches, or 18 days, since any other Spurs player has scored. But the Welshman scotched any talk of being a one-man team, denying he feels any extra pressure now to constantly produce.
"I think we work as a team on the pitch, I'm just lucky enough to be getting the goals at the moment," he said. "So, yeah, we worked hard as a team again tonight. I don't think it's down to individuals but the whole team deserves credit. No-one can win the game on their own and, as I said, we just want to keep working hard and winning every game."
Bale similarly deflected questions in the White Hart Lane mixed zone about mooted moves to Real Madrid and eventually winning a Ballon D'Or.
"I'm not looking too far into the future," he said. "All I'm concentrating on is each game, trying to work my best for the team and seeing what I can. I don't take too much notice, I'm concentrating on every game as it comes and just hoping I can keep my form going."
Bale also felt the late 2-1 win should be enough to see Spurs through, given the fact that Lyon now how have to attack and leave themselves open to an away goal.
"It was great to get the goals but I think the most important thing is that we've got the victory tonight which gives us a bit more of an advantage going into the second leg now.
"It's going to be a difficult game. They made it difficult for us in patches tonight. Yeah, I think the good thing is they have to come at us now, they're behind in the tie and hopefully that will leave gaps in behind them."