Villas-Boas praises Bale's solo strike against Norwich City

The Wales international's individual effort earned a draw for Tottenham against Chris Hughton's side, who took the lead through Wes Hoolahan's first-half goal
Andre Villas-Boas praised Gareth Bale after his superb solo goal earned Tottenham a 1-1 draw against Norwich but slammed an attempted tackle by Alexander Tettey on the winger.

The Portuguese claimed that Bale would have suffered a serious injury had Tettey made contact with a challenge in the immediate buildup to the Wales international's stunning equaliser.

Villas-Boas expressed his unhappiness with referee Neil Swarbrick and felt the official should have taken action once play had stopped.

"It was a great goal," Villas-Boas told reporters. "He was extremely lucky to avoid Tettey's challenge, which could have broken his ankle. It's disappointing that the referee did not give a yellow or red card after the incident.

"I've spoken to the ref and I'm extremely disappointed with his game. I think you have to protect the unpredictability and passion of the game but you have to be aware that people go over the top.

"If he had made contact with Gareth's ankle you have an injury that keeps him out for six months and you have a player who has to continue to receive insults about his reputation [for diving], which I think is extremely insulting."

Norwich dominated the first half at Carrow Road before Tottenham's second-half revival ensured they escaped with a point.

Wes Hoolahan opened the scoring for the Canaries but while Villas-Boas conceded that his team had been on the back foot, he was not impressed with the hosts' approach to the game.

"We couldn't really play our game in the first half, Norwich were difficult to handle," he reflected. "There were lots of long balls that were difficult to defend and they were on top of us. The second half was all ours. We played good football and the boys showed great commitment. At halftime they recognized they could change their performance. I think in the end a draw is a fair result.

"They don't try to play, really. They put the ball in your box and lots of clearances end up in your box. They fight for first and second balls and that's the nature of our game. It's not here, in the Premier League, to be beautiful. Sometimes it's difficult and dirty but we managed to handle it in the second half and get the ball on the ground."

New signing Lewis Holtby was brought on in the second half and was influential during an impressive cameo.

"He did extremely well," Villas-Boas added. "I think he's an excellent addition. He was extremely comfortable and it's always very difficult players to come into this league.

"Myself and the team are happy with his performance. He found a couple of balls in behind and linked the team well."

Follow GOAL.COM USA on