Gareth Bale has successfully battled through the “psychological scars” of spending much of the last two seasons injured, as he returns to something resembling his best and forms a superstar trio with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min at Tottenham, says Jose Mourinho.
Bale scored twice more in Tottenham’s 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday, taking his tally to six goals (plus three assists) in the side’s last six games (four starts, two substitute appearances, no single shift lasting longer than 70 minutes), and it was Kane who provided the assist for both goals. Two superstars from different eras nearly 10 years apart appear to have found a common ground and a healthy working relationship in pushing Tottenham to three straight victories and within two points (and two places) of 4th place in the Premier League table — quotes from the BBC:
“I think that is why I came here — the attacking players we have is amazing. Not just the ones who played tonight but ones on the bench. We are all pushing each other and it’s good to get the three points.
“There is a lot of fighting for places so you have to stay on your toes and have to keep working hard. We are in good moment now, getting the confidence back so hopefully we can keep it going.
“I feel good. It takes a bit of time sometimes, but I’m experienced enough to be patient.”
It hasn’t been an easy ride for Gareth Bale — not in the slightest — but it was Bale who did the hard work, both physically and mentally, to get himself back to a condition in which he could contributed to the team. The mental hurdles were the most challenging, according to Mourinho, as those were the ones Bale was forced to attack all on his own.
“I didn’t challenge him, nobody challenged him. We just supported him.
“I found psychological scars. When you have a couple of seasons with lots of injuries, I think it is not about the muscular scars but the psychological scars — that brings fears and instability.
“There is a moment when you are working very well and everyone around you is giving everything we can give, there is a moment where that psychological barrier has to be broken. And he broke it. It was him, not us. We just supported him. He broke it and is playing very well.”
“Time for you to speak with Gareth Bale — he needs to enjoy the positive talk with everybody that was doubting his first half of the season. He’s playing very well and working hard for the team.”
Next Sunday’s north London derby against 10th-place Arsenal is shaping up to be an interesting one from a Tottenham perspective, with their top-four place hanging in the balance and a blast from the past (and present) pushing them into the future.