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Four-goal Faris dreams of AFC Cup final


Villas-Boas unfazed by Bale absence

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has backed his fringe players to step up in Gareth Bale's absence after the winger was ruled out for two weeks with an ankle injury, with Sunday's match against Everton set to provide an indication of the depth at White Hart Lane.

• Preview: Tottenham v Everton
• Blog: Reflecting on Basel

Bale, 23, suffered ligament damage during Spurs' 2-2 Europa League draw with Basel on Thursday and is expected to return for the Premier League clash against Manchester City on April 21.

Tottenham host the Toffees without their top goalscorer, but Villas-Boas is confident the likes of Gylfi Sigurddson and Lewis Holtby will take up the opportunity to cement their place in the starting line-up.

"We have suffered setbacks before and managed to jump out of them so lets wait and see," he said. "We've had his absence before in different moments of the season and we had people stepping up to the game.

"When an injury happens to a player who has played most of the time it another player to step in. We have those players - Sigurdsson has gone back to his goalscoring form, scoring two during the internationals and once against Basle and Holtby was also at a very, very good level."

William Gallas and Aaron Lennon were also ruled out of the Everton match after picking up injuries against Basel, but are expected to see out the rest of the league campaign.

"Due to the postponement of the Chelsea game most of the players will be back soon enough to play the remaining six games," Villas-Boas said. "We have a very, very strong squad and as you can see we rotate quite frequently and the quality of squad allows us to that.

"We will rotate at Everton and have fresh legs coming in, with injuries we have the opportunities for another couple of people. We have used it [rotation] a lot, you have seen us rotate goalkeepers in Europa League ties and rotate central defenders in Premier League and Europa League games.

"You try and use the fresh legs to have the squad balanced and ready for the Sunday game - you always benefit because fresh legs are as important as players who are regular starters."


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