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I just thought 'shoot'

Gareth Bale was delighted his stunning strike secured three points at Stoke on Saturday.

Gareth Bale was delighted his stunning strike secured three points at Stoke on Saturday.

The Welsh star grabbed both goals at the Britannia Stadium including an early contender for Goal of the Season.

Gareth connected perfectly with Aaron Lennon's cross to the left corner of the box and unleashed a shoulder-high wonder volley back into the opposite top corner.

It was a stark contrast to the opening goal as Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross' attempted clearance cannoned in off his face.

It was 2-1 at half-time and we survived a late onslaught from the home side to take maximum points from one of the toughest away trips of the season.

"I was surprised at the first goal myself," beamed Gareth afterwards. "I didn't know too much about it, the ball just smashed me in the face and went in!

"It was then great to score the second goal and get the win.

"In my mind I just thought 'shoot' and it was a natural reaction to hit it. I was delighted when it went into the top corner.

"It's nice to get a goal like that and hopefully I'll continue doing it.

"I've scored a few decent goals but I don't think I've caught a ball as sweetly as that in open play. As I said, I was delighted to see it go in and more importantly, that we got the three points."

Apart from Gareth's stunner, there was one big talking point as Stoke claimed Jon Walters' late header crossed the goal-line before Peter Crouch scrambled it away.

Gareth couldn't have had a better view of the incident.

"I was right behind Crouchy when he stopped it," said Gareth.

"Personally, I don't think it was in, but the referee made his decision and that was that. I think they made the right call.

"We know what kind of game Stoke play but we stayed strong, played our football and deserved the points. We were fully prepared and did our jobs well."


The club's attention now turns to a massive night at White Hart Lane on Wednesday.

It's the first-ever Champions League tie at the Lane as we face Young Boys of Switzerland for the right to go into the group stages of Europe's top competition.

We trail 3-2 from the first leg in Bern and Gareth insists confidence is high of turning the tie around.

"It was massively important to get the win at Stoke, confidence is up now and hopefully we'll get the job done on Wednesday night," he added.

"I don't think we feel pressure, we know we're good enough and if we play to the capability we know we can play, we can beat most teams."