James Perch tackles Gareth Bale

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

The scoresheet certainly backs it up, and James Perch believes Gareth Bale was the difference between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United on Saturday.

Champions League-chasing Spurs edged out the Magpies at White Hart Lane but it took two moments of brilliance from one of the league's - and arguably the world's - most in-form and exciting players.

First, the Welshman sent a 22-yard free-kick dipping past Tim Krul, then he burst through to score a late winner after Yoan Gouffran had equalised for Alan Pardew's side.

And, summing up the game as he spoke exclusively to nufc.co.uk, Perch said: "I think the difference between us and them was probably Gareth Bale.

"He scored two fantastic goals and it's a credit to him for how far he's come in the last couple of years to make himself a real household name - and a credit to Tottenham.

"He's definitely one of the best players I've played against. Would I put him up there with (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo? Not yet, but he's a fantastic player in this Premier League.

"And he's still a young lad, so he's got plenty of years to play - unfortunately! He's a fantastic player and scored two great goals today so deserves all the credit."

Almost a year to the day, United suffered their heaviest defeat under Pardew when Spurs ran out 5-0 winners in North London.

This time around, although the outcome was the same, it was a very different affair as both sides went toe-to-toe with each other.

"Last year was a nightmare for us and we came here knowing that we couldn't do that again," Perch admitted. "When they scored after five minutes I thought 'here we go again' but I think we more than matched them for most of the game.

"We're disappointed that we didn't come away with any points but we can take positives out of the game and we don't lose any confidence that we've built in the last three games.

"We'll keep that high standard that we've shown and take it into Thursday (against Metalist Kharkiv in the Europa League).

"I think if we'd played here earlier on in the season they'd have turned us over quite comfortably. But the new injection of players has given everybody a lift at the club and you can see that on the pitch when we go out and play.

"We're playing with a lot of confidence and even though we were playing a top team today, we came here expecting to win.

"The gaffer said 'don't get down about it - keep that feeling of confidence, don't lose it and take that into the games that we've got coming up.'

"We've got some tough games coming up but we've got some good games as well."

As always, Newcastle were backed by their loyal supporters with the Toon Army's chants reverberating around the stadium for most of the game.

Perch hailed them as "brilliant" and added: "They travelled a long way and we know as players how far they travelled and how hard they work in the build-up to it.

"We have to go and put on a show for them so they can hopefully enjoy the long journey back.

"Unfortunately today we didn't get the three points but I hope they can see the confidence and the quality we did play with."

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