Bale angered by diving jibes

Bale
Bale goes down under the challenge of Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson. Photo: PA

Gareth Bale was clearly frustrated after being booked for diving during Tottenham's 2-1 win at Sunderland today.

The Wales forward is now getting an unenviable reputation as a diver and today he was given a yellow card after going to ground following a tackle by Craig Gardner.

For Bale it overshadowed the victory which saw them move just three points behind second-placed Manchester City in third in the Barclays Premier League.

He told Sky Sports 2: "It's the same thing every time - it's the third time this season I've been clipped.

"There is nothing I can do about it - the referees have to look a bit closer.

"If I get contact there it is a penalty or free kick.

"What do you expect me to do if I there is contact and I go over - hit my head on the floor?

"I am not going to stop going because it is a foul.

"People can say what they want, it doesn't bother me."

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas was also annoyed by Bale's yellow card which now rules him out of the next match against Reading on New Year's Day.

He told Sky Sports 2: "I think it is completely unfair he misses the Reading game for such a big mistake."

Villas-Boas added: "I understand the reputation that is created on the surface. But it's a bit unfair. I don't think it mars the game but Gareth was one away from missing a game. We just have to let it go."

Of the outcome, the Portuguese added: "Very good. I think we made the game a little bit more difficult; in the first half we dominated and had the best chances but then went a goal down from a set play.

"We came very strong mentally in the second half and I think we got what we deserved. An excellent performance."

Sunderland counterpart Martin O'Neill was proud of his side's attitude despite the defeat.

He told Sky Sports 2: "It was a tough game. We fought so hard to get in front and then gave it away in a two-minute spell just after half-time.

"There's been a big effort over the last few games and it has taken a lot out of the players. It is very seldom in terms of commitment that I would be unhappy with the team.

"I'm not so sure Tottenham created so many chances - I don't remember them causing us so many problems in the first half.

"They are a very fine side. That is why they are challenging for the Champions League."