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Soldado Hat Trick as Spurs Progresses in Europa League

Roberto Soldado rediscovered his goalscoring touch on Thursday, hitting a hat trick as Tottenham demolished Anzhi Makhachkala 4-1 at White Hart Lane, ensuring that Spurs topped Group K in the Europa League to progress to the Round of 32 on the back of six consecutive wins in the competition. Spanish striker Soldado has struggled in front of goal in the Premier League this season, leaving coach Andre Villas-Boas particularly pleased that he's started scoring in the buildup to the hectic Christmas period.

"It was extremely important for him to get back to scoring," the Portuguese said. "I'm extremely happy for him. He's been waiting for a moment like this and it finally happened tonight with a hat-trick. It will be major boost for a player who has been very professional and deserves respect. I don't think he lost his confidence but, as a striker, you have to persist and persist; finishing off the situations you are given and that final touch hasn't been there for him recently. It will be a great boost of confidence for him, bearing in mind he scored three today."

Having said that, AVB noted that he might still opt for Jermain Defoe when Spurs hosts second-place Liverpool in the EPL on Sunday. "We have to think about it," he said. "It's a bit premature. We always wanted to give this game to Roberto after two games in a row for Jermain, who was deserving his chance as well. Now it's about putting the best possible strategy of the game and seeing what we can do."

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