Soldado ready for physical challenge

New Tottenham Hotspur striker Roberto Soldado has admitted he will need to toughen up if he is to prosper amid the breathless pace and physicality of the English Premier League.

The 28-year-old signed from Valencia in a club-record £26 million-deal earlier this month and arrives hoping to score the goals that will take Tottenham back into the UEFA Champions League.

The Spain international scored on his debut in a 1-1 friendly draw with Espanyol at the weekend, but ahead of Spurs' Premier League opener at Crystal Palace on Sunday, he knows he will have his work cut out in the English top flight. "I think the most important thing is to be in shape," he told AFPTV.

"The intensity of the Premier League, it's very different from La Liga and here football is a lot more physical and a lot more difficult. But I think that's good because it gives a lot of rhythm to the game and I think that can be good for me."

Despite the burden of expectation created by his price-tag, Soldado says he has no concerns heading into his debut campaign at White Hart Lane. "I am very happy to have this opportunity, to be able to play for a historical club like Tottenham and I'm really happy because it's a unique opportunity," he said. "I hope I won't disappoint and I will do everything I can to score a lot, which is why they hired me, and be even happier here."

Meanwhile, manager Andre Villas-Boas has revealed midfielder Gareth Bale will not be fit to for the opening fixture at Selhurst Park. "He's been out injured for most of pre-season," the Portuguese coach said.

"He was involved in the games against Brentford and Swindon but not any others, for different reasons; he pulled a muscle in his gluteus that prevented him from being involved for two weeks and he's been complaining of pain in the foot. I think the most natural thing is to see him not involved against Palace."