Tottenham Hotspur took an early lead on Everton in Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round game at Goodison Park, but many Spurs fans were discussing something else.
One-time megastar Gareth Bale’s rough return to North London hit another snag, and Jose Mourinho confused plenty of people when he revealed why the Welsh international would not be in the 18.
“I would not say an injury, not at all, just some feelings he was not happy with so it was better to stay back and work with the sports science guys.” the Spurs boss told BT Sport, via Football.London.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
Mourinho was asked further about Bale’s absence after Spurs lost a 5-4 extra time thriller, and the boss cleared things up a bit more, saying that Bale was suffering some discomfort and preferred to stay behind in North London.
“We played against West Bromwich on the Sunday and he didn’t play,” Mourinho said, via Football.London. “On Monday I was a little bit surprised by him wanting to have a scan because he was not comfortable with some muscular area. So he didn’t train on Monday and then on Tuesday he trained with the team but I was informed that his desire would be to work with the sports science for a couple of days to strengthen that area where he’s not feeling comfortable. That’s the reason why he’s not here.”
Mourinho said it is “not an obvious clear injury.” The manager has a unique way the language but the line that sticks out to us, for better or worse, is that Mourinho “was informed” of Bale’s desire to get treatment.
That doesn’t sound like the player came to the boss, though of course that is speculation. As we saw from “All Or Nothing,” Mourinho’s door seems open more often than not for concerns of that type. It’s reason enough to stay tuned for updates, we’d say, especially after Bale posted positive thoughts on Instagrm regarding Tuesday’s training.
Bale, 31, has made 15 appearances for Spurs on loan from Real Madrid, scoring four goals in 783 minutes.
Since the calendar turned to 2021, Bale has only played four times in Tottenham’s 11 fixtures. He missed the Jan. 2 win over Leeds and League Cup semifinal win over Brentford with an injury but was an unused sub in four matches including the last two Premier League outings prior to Wednesday’s trip outside the 18.
Bale’s four appearances in January lasted nine, 25, 61, and 90 minutes, two of which came in FA Cup visits to Marine FC and Wycombe Wanderers.
It seems very unlikely that this loan stint leads to anything more with Tottenham after the season, as Bale scored three goals with two assists in just 20 appearances for Real last season and at this point it is not looking like that output was an outlier.