Harry Redknapp admitted Rafael van der Vaart's £8million signing was looking more of a bargain by the minute after the Holland midfielder cemented his status as Tottenham's new talisman.
Van der Vaart produced another virtuoso performance to ensure Spurs avoided a European hangover with a 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Aston Villa. The 27-year-old scored both his side's goals as they came from behind in the latest thrilling contest to be witnessed at White Hart Lane this season.
"He's started well; he's going well; he's going great," manager Redknapp said after watching Van der Vaart score his fourth goal in his third home appearance for his new club. "He's always looking to get on the ball and he's always looking to score. He's got that knack of scoring goals."
Van der Vaart has instantly made himself a favourite among his new fans.
Redknapp said: "He's a good footballer and they always like a good footballer."
Villa capitalised on another slow post-European start from Redknapp's men when Marc Albrighton gave them the lead with his first professional goal. But Van der Vaart headed in a crucial equaliser in the third minute of stoppage-time before rifling home a 75th-minute winner.
Villa's defeat was Gerard Houllier's first since taking charge after he claimed victories in his opening two games in the dugout. The former Liverpool boss was unhappy with the amount of first-half stoppage-time played by referee Mark Clattenburg, who allowed more than the minimum of two minutes he had indicated, giving Van der Vaart the time to level.
"I was just not happy with the equaliser because the game had elapsed quite a long time after the two minutes which were indicated," Houllier explained.
"But that's the referee; the law says it's a minimum of two minutes. He decided it was three minutes."
The Frenchman added: "The only thing we can blame ourselves for is probably the fact that we didn't take our chances. A couple of times, we could have sealed the game."
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