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Crouchy 'made it easy' - Rafa

Rafael van der Vaart was quick to praise the contribution of Peter Crouch to his match-winning double against Villa.

Rafael van der Vaart was quick to praise the contribution of Peter Crouch to his match-winning double against Villa.

The Dutch star latched on to two of Crouchy's headed knockdowns to first bring us back into the game just before half-time and then win it in the 75th minute.

The pair combined for the first goal against FC Twente in last week's thrilling Champions League victory and the two goals took Rafa's tally to four in six matches for us since his arrival from Real Madrid.

"Peter's a big guy, so strong in the air and he made it easy for me," said Rafa, now on international duty with Holland.

"He also makes it easy for us to play those balls into the box and I just made two good calls to get onto his headers."

It was an important victory not just against a team expected to challenge for a top-four spot again in the Premier League but also after the rigours of a Champions League match in midweek.

Villa impressed in the first half and it was difficult to argue against them deserving to take a 12th-minute lead.

However, we slowly pegged them back with Rafa's goal in the nick of time in first half injury time.

The second half was a different story. Harry Redknapp changed the shape of the team with Aaron Lennon on for Roman Pavlyuchenko and Rafa supporting Crouchy up front.

We had more of the play, created more chances and deserved the win.

"It was tough," said Rafa. "Villa are a strong team, fast, strong and the first 30 minutes was difficult for us.

"I was happy to make it 1-1 just before half-time, otherwise it might have been hard for us.

"The second half was more open, we fought to the end and I thought we deserved the win.

"In the end it was a great win for us. The guys did a great job."

An instant hit with the fans, Rafa said he's loving his new environment at Spurs.

"It's always good when you play in a strong team and that makes it easier to settle in," he added.

"It's great to play here with the stadium, our fans, I love it. It's just the beginning though. I hope to play better and to make more goals."