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Mourinho: ‘Bale has found his happy place’

Spurs boss will start Gareth Bale in tonight's Premier League match against Fulham at Craven Cottage

04 March, 2021 — By Dan Carrier

Jose Mourinho: ‘Bale is getting over his emotional scars’ 

TREADING gently was the only way to nurse Gareth Bale back to his explosive best, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho revealed.

Mourinho was speaking as he previewed tonight’s (Thursday) Premier League tie away at Fulham, and he said the recent, roll-back-the-years performances was the product of a patient approach towards getting the Welshman back up to speed.

He would not be drawn whether the forward, who scored twice on Sunday in the 4-0 crushing of Burnley, could start two games in quick succession and still be available for Sunday’s encounter against Crystal Palace as Spurs try desperately to squeeze the gap a little narrower as they chase down the top four.

But Mourinho added emphatically: “He will be involved and he will be there.”

And Mourinho said the time it has taken for Bale to put his class on the pitch since his summer 2020 move back to Spurs was not unexpected.

Bale’s patchy showing was held up as evidence by doubters that he was finished as a top level sportsman, and explained his sidelining and eventual exile at Real Madrid.

But as the business end of the season kicks in, Bale has shown in the past three weeks he can still win games.

It is a very welcome boost to Mourinho’s options in a season that looked like it could end in acrimonious disappointment.

Mourinho added: “For the past two years, he had what he had going on in Madrid. Ask them. If they answer to you, maybe you understand better why it took a while for him to reach the level he has shown in the last couple of weeks.

“I do nothing. I think it is a very personal thing. When a player has injuries, I believe that the player has scars, and many times the scars are not just physical. They are emotional scars, the player still has those injuries until he gets free, clean emotionally.

“In this case, we just took care of him as best we could. You put everything around him, at his disposal – coaching staff, medical staff, sports science.

“The friends he has in the dressing room also play a role in his happiness. He was missing that happiness related to performing to a higher level.

“I believe at this moment he is there – he is happy, he is clean, and hopefully we can manage his minutes and matches.”

Mourinho faces almost an embarrassment of squad riches as he nurses his side through 10 big games in March.

The only player missing is Giovani Lo Celso, though he has resumed full training outdoors as he returns from a long-term hamstring injury.

It bodes well for Mourinho, and he believes his side has quietly found form without getting results they deserved. “We won 4-0 against Burnley, but that was just one match,” he said.

“The match before [in the Europa League], we can all agree that the opponent was not Premier League level – we beat them 4-0.

“The result against West Ham was bad, but I think we all agree we did not play badly at all, the same against Everton, West Brom and Manchester City, where our legs ran out of fuel.

“This week we have had nine points to fight for, we have got three so far, and now we need to get the other six.”

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