Jose Mourinho: "There is not one single manager in the world that doesn't play Gareth Bale if Gareth Bale is in very good condition. There is not one, but now he is better than ever. I'm just pleased for the team because he helped the team to win. I'm happy for him."
Monday 1 March 2021 12:03, UK
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho insists Gareth Bale is "better than ever" and said any manager in the world would want him with the form he showed against Burnley.
The Wales international delivered the most devastating impact of his second spell in north London with two goals and an assist in the 4-0 victory against the Clarets.
Bale's homecoming from Real Madrid had threatened to be a flop after he suffered fitness issues in the first half of the campaign, but showed on Sunday he is back to his best.
Mourinho, who barely used him during that period, said the 31-year-old is no longer "flat" and is "better than ever".
We know this boy [Bale] can finish. It was made easy for Tottenham today. When you give him this kind of opportunity, you know his left foot is magnificent and he'll pick out the corner. We all know he can play football, it's just getting him on the pitch.
"Sometimes people write things, and sometimes, some of you like to imagine stories, you need to write stories and sometimes you like to say things that are not really true but there is not one single manager in the world that doesn't play Gareth Bale if Gareth Bale is in very good condition," he said.
"There is not one, but now he is better than ever.
"It's not just about the two goals he scored, it's fundamentally about his physical performance. Now he's not flat. Now he has ups and downs in the speed he brings to his actions.
"Even in the area in which he plays, sometimes outside, sometimes inside. He played very well and his condition is very good.
"I'm just pleased for the team because he helped the team to win and that's the most important thing. I'm happy for him."
After opening the scoring after 67 seconds, Bale then set up Harry Kane and was involved in Lucas Moura's third as Mourinho's men ran riot in the first half.
He then added a brilliant second after the break to complete a fine afternoon's work to help Spurs to just a second Premier League win in seven games.
Bale lasted 70 minutes against the Clarets and will be instrumental in deciding whether he will be ready for two Premier League games in four days next week.
"Day after day, day after day, and as I was saying, he is experienced and his knowledge of his body and his feelings are going to be fundamental," Mourinho added.
"A player that gives me this kind of performance of course I want to play him on Thursday and on Sunday, and I want to play him next week against Dinamo Zagreb but I don't think I can.
"So this is a process that we have to manage day by day and see how he feels tomorrow and see how he feels after tomorrow. He's a very important part of this decision-making because he has a lot of experience."
After his man-of-the-match display against Burnley, Bale was delighted to have helped the team after a long road to regaining his form and fitness.
"It was good," he said. "I have been building up a little bit to get fully fit - felt comfortable and my form is coming back. It's nice to help the team
"It's understandable, it's been a while, so I just continue to work hard. I know you get criticism, but I am experienced enough to keep my head down, not say anything stupid and keep plugging away."
He now hopes Spurs can use the result to finish the season strongly.
"Playing with them [Harry Kane and Heung-min Son] is why I came here and what I wanted to do - it's great to be on the pitch and feeling good, hopefully we can kick on from this and get some confidence.
"We know football isn't fair sometimes and people will criticise, but all we can do inside is keep going, and we showed that today."
Sky Sports' Roy Keane: "It was easy for Spurs today. Burnley were desperate - I couldn't believe how bad they were. Spurs are a nice, tidy team but it was easy. In the big tests, they usually come up short. I can't see them getting top four - no chance."
"I am very happy for him, very happy for the team because the team needs his talent," Mourinho told Sky Sports.
Any side would want that sort of talent, especially the form Bale showed against Sean Dyche's side.
Questions have been asked of Mourinho ever since Bale returned to north London as the Spurs boss used him infrequently as he looked to regain his form, and more importantly, his fitness.
And his struggle for fitness has always been the frustration for Mourinho.
During Spurs' difficult run, he had to fend off speculation about Bale's role at Spurs as the Welshman continued to sit on the bench as the north London club struggled to pick up results.
Mourinho remained tight-lipped.
He never questioned Bale's quality, but he did question his fitness as Spurs, and Mourinho, played the waiting game. Finally, it looks to have paid off.
The Wales international looks to be regaining his form, his confidence and he looks the fittest he's been all season. He also looks happy following some well documented difficulties in Madrid.
It's also translating to the pitch now as Bale has been directly involved in seven goals in his last four appearances for Tottenham in all competitions (four goals & three assists). It was also the first time he has scored twice in a match since September 2019 and he has now scored in successive club appearances for the first time since for Real Madrid (v Getafe, Girona and Leganes) in August and September 2018.
Mourinho's stance, and patience, with Bale has been justified and he will be hoping this form continues as Spurs took to push up the league before the end of the season.