He’s on fire! Chelsea’s Rafael Benítez admits admiration for Gareth Bale

Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benítez admits that Gareth Bale has been the "key" to Tottenham's impressive recent form

rafael benitez
Rafael Benítez's side are now fourth in the Premier League table Photo: The Sport Review

rafael benitez

Rafael Benítez has revealed his admiration for Gareth Bale after the Tottenham winger stole the show against West Ham and helped Spurs leapfrog Chelsea into third place.

The 23-year-old, whose stunning 90th-minute winner gave Tottenham victory after he had opened the scoring at Upton Park on Monday night, has now scored 12 goals in his last 13 outings for Spurs.

And Chelsea interim coach Benítez feels that the Wales international’s contribution to the north Londoners has been the “key” to Spurs’ push for a top-four finish in recent weeks.

Benítez said: “[It was a] great goal. He’s a great player. He’s on fire and is doing really well.

“He was a key player for them yesterday and has been a key player for them in the last [few] weeks, no doubt about that. He’s a very good player.”

Benítez, whose side are now just two points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, admits that Chelsea are in a serious fight to secure Champions League football for next season.

“What I said after the [Manchester City] game is that the competition for the top four will be until the end,” he added. “That was my opinion before and is still my opinion now.”

Chelsea travel to Middlesbrough on Wednesday as they bid to book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

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