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'I couldn't have done it without the lads'

Gareth Bale spoke of his pride after claiming his first hat-trick in the Premier League – but was quick to point out that the win at Villa was all that really mattered.

The flying winger was deadly in front of goal to score his hat-trick in the space of 23 minutes after Jermain Defoe made the crucial breakthrough at Villa Park.

Gareth raced into the box before skipping past goalkeeper Brad Guzan for 2-0, drove into the corner from 14 yards from Aaron Lennon’s pass for 3-0 and then fired high past Guzan from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s assist for 4-0.

“The most important thing was that we got the three points,” said Gareth, with the signed matchball tucked under his arm at Villa Park.

“We created a lot of chances and controlled the game in the first half, probably better than the second half when we scored the goals.

“It was a frustrating but I always believed – as the manager said – that if we kept playing like we were playing, the goals would come.

“It was crucial we got the first goal and the sooner the better. That showed when we scored. In the end, we won quite comfortably.

“It was great to get the hat-trick, my first in the Premier League, but I couldn’t have done it without the lads. It was a great team performance.”

Gareth and JD celebrate at Villa