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Real Madrid target Gareth Bale missed the opening game of the season through injury but it did not matter as the £26 million signing scored a debut winner against Crystal Palace

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas backs new signing Roberto Soldado to take on the mantle of goalscorer-in-chief from Gareth Bale.

The Spanish forward, who joined Spurs for £26 million from Valencia this summer, bagged the only goal on his debut in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

And Villas-Boas believes that the new man is ready to rival Bale, who netted 21 times last season and was absent on Sunday with a foot injury, as the club's 20-goals-a-season man.

"Of course - his career speaks for him," the Spurs boss told reporters. "To see him so confidently step up and score on the same side as he did against Espanyol was important for us.

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19/5 Roberto Soldado is 19/5 with BetVictor to score the first goal in Dinamo Tbilisi v Tottenham
"It was good to see him out there. He created some chances. Not only that but we celebrate our first official penalty after [being awarded none] last season - and even more."

While the Bale transfer saga continues, the Welshman is unlikely to feature for anyone in August through injury and Villas-Boas reckons that the performance on Sunday showed that Tottenham can win and perform without their star man.

"The player is injured and is not available for selection and is not likely to start either the Tbilisi [in the Europa League on Thursday] or Swansea [next Sunday] games," the Portuguese explained.

"I am very happy. It was a good performance. We had good chances throughout the whole 90 minutes and stayed strong in the final few minutes to take it to the final whistle but, overall, it is a deserved win."

And the Tottenham manager was most impressed with how quickly his new signings took to the Premier League, enthusing: "Bearing in mind that the Premier League is a different proposition from the leagues they have played in in terms of intensity and passion, I think the new players did extremely well. I am pleased for them."

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