Wednesday 17 July 2013
Gareth Bale started pre-season in the manner he ended the previous campaign with a goal as Tottenham Hotspur warmed up for the Barclays Asia Trophy with a 1-1 draw in a friendly match at Swindon Town.
"We haven't stopped training and that's a good thing for our physical stamina during these games"
Less than a week before flying out to Hong Kong, Spurs took the lead 15 minutes into the first half at the County Ground when Bale was put through by Gylfi Sigurdsson and showed quick feet to beat his marker before finishing powerfully with his left foot.
Bale had ended the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League season with a similar finish with the winning goal in the 90th minute against Sunderland, whom Spurs face in the opening match of the Barclays Asia Trophy on 24 July in Hong Kong.
After Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas had made 10 changes to his side at half-time Swindon levelled thanks to a deflected shot by Andy Williams. The Londoners had chances to win the match but could not find the net before the final whistle.
"We haven't stopped training and that's a good thing for our physical stamina during these games," Villas-Boas told the club's website. "We'll continue to use 45-45 minutes to get everyone to a level that's good for resistance, stamina and endurance. Football-wise, we had some good moments, but also some things that we need to work on.
"We had some good chances and the result could have been different, but overall we had good, positive moments to take from the game. It was a good first show from everyone and congratulations to Swindon, they played well.
"We don't stop now. The players have to be ready for tomorrow's session, then two sessions on Thursday and then back again to play on Friday."
Villas-Boas's side have one more match before leaving for the Barclays Asia Trophy, a friendly match away to Colchester United on Friday.
A limited number of tickets are still available for semi-finals day and can be bought here.
West Ham United continued their pre-season campaign with a 2-1 win over League One Colchester at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
"We'll see where the season takes me, but hopefully it's going to be one to remember"
Joe Cole and defender James Collins were on target at the start of each half for the Barclays Premier League side before substitute Jabo Ibehre produced a stoppage-time consolation with a powerful header.
One of the star performers on the night, however, was Sebastian Lletget, who gave an dynamic display in midfield. The 20-year-old American was rewarded for a series of strong performances in last season's inaugural Barclays Under-21 Premier League with a first-team run out, and the U23 international was a livewire throughout.
"It was such a relief to get an appearance and a good 45 minutes in my first game in pre-season," Lletget told the club's website. "I really work hard every day for these moments and thankfully a bit of my ability came out. I am just really glad I got the chance.
"I definitely feel like my first-team opportunities are within arm's length, or even closer than that. I'm feeling confident and physically ready. We'll see where the season takes me, but hopefully it's going to be one to remember."
Newcastle United got their pre-season off to winning ways with a 4-2 success at Scottish Premier League outfit Motherwell.
"It was a great night with some fantastic performances"
Haris Vuckic, Yoan Gouffran, Moussa Sissoko and Sylvain Marveaux all scored for the visitors, who replied either side of half-time through Iain Vigurs and James McFadden's penalty.
"That performance level was top drawer,” manager Alan Pardew told the club's website. "With no disrespect to Motherwell, we made them look ordinary at times and could have scored even more than we did."
"At the back end of last year I warned the players that pre-season would be the toughest of my time here, for sure, and one of the toughest I've ever done, and that was reflected tonight.
"That was our best-conditioned team and we looked really sharp. The quality was also there and we needed to get a win because we want to get back in that winning habit.
"It was a great night with some fantastic performances and we played a little bit more relaxed."