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Rafa 'exceptional' - Luka

Luka Modric believes his understanding with Rafael van der Vaart will get better and better.

Luka Modric believes his understanding with Rafael van der Vaart will get better and better.

The Croatian international described Rafa as an ‘unbelievably great player' after he scored both goals in our 2-1 win against Villa at the Lane last time out.

Rafa swooped on two knock downs from Peter Crouch as we turned around a 1-0 deficit against Gerard Houllier's impressive team.

That made it four goals for Rafa since his transfer deadline day arrival from Real Madrid.

Luka admitted he was getting up to full speed after suffering a couple of knocks this season and that the pair should complement each other perfectly.

"Rafa is an exceptional player and he's showed that since he came to the club," said Luka.

"He's a great signing. He's played at great clubs, Ajax, Hamburg, Real Madrid and I think he can give more quality to the team."

Harry Redknapp admitted immediately after Rafa's arrival that he couldn't wait to watch him combine with Luka.

"It's not hard to play well with that kind of player and I'm happy he's here with us," added Luka, who played the full 90 minutes as Croatia beat Israel 2-1 on Saturday.

"For me, I'm a little out of rhythm, I've had a couple of injuries this season and I'm not yet back into my rhythm but in a couple of games I'll settle down and play better.

"I just need to be fitter. It's been hard for me because I've had a couple of injures but in a couple of matches I'll be back into full shape."

Luka also praised the character of the lads to come from a goal behind to beat Villa in a key Premier League fixture.

"I have to credit all the lads though because we worked so hard. It was a tough game and we showed big character to come back and win."