Jose Mourinho admits Gareth Bale isn't the star he once was – but says neither are Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi
30th October 2020

JOSE MOURINHO admits Gareth Bale is no longer the player he once was.

But the Tottenham boss has promised the struggling Wales superstar, 31, will get better.

Bale is set to return to the bench for the North Londoners’ Premier League clash at home to Brighton tomorrow after failing to impress in Thursday’s shock 1-0 Europa League loss at Royal Antwerp.

The formerly lightning quick winger has not completed 90 minutes since rejoining Spurs on a season loan from Real Madrid last month.

Bale is continuing to build up his fitness following 18 months in the cold at the Bernabeu.

He looks a shadow of the player who moved to Spain for a then world-record fee of £86million in September 2013.

But Mourinho said: “I repeat the same – seven years is a long, long, long gap.

"Which player in the world is the same as he was seven years ago?

“Sometimes they're not better or worse, they're just different players.

"For example you look at [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi, and compare them with seven years ago… they play in different areas, different positions.

"They transform their qualities to try and explore their qualities in other responsibilities in the tactical system of their teams.

“I think it happens with the majority of the players, so for sure he is a different player.”

Bale is yet to make a Premier League since his return – with both of his starts so far coming in Europe.

He came off the bench in Tottenham’s last home top flight match when they threw away a 3-0 to lead against West Ham to draw 3-3.

But Mourinho said: “He is working very, very hard. He is improving.

“He hasn’t had one single injury since he came back from the last one. He didn't miss one single training session.

“To play 90 minutes is still hard, to play high intensity is still difficult, but he is improving.

“He is improving and hopefully he will be back to a better level soon.”

Mourinho hopes to welcome back defenders Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga against the Seagulls after they missed the midweek trip to Belgium.

The Spurs chief said: “Dier had a little, no quite an important injury in the national team and couldn't play a couple of matches for us.

“He played against Burnley on Monday but it would have been a risk to play Thursday. But I expect him to be fine for this one.

“And Tanguy felt just a little sign of fatigue in a muscular area and he was also protected.

“He is training normal and ready to play Sunday, and to be honest we’ve missed him – because he gives speed to the team.

"Thinking quick, thinking fast, moving the ball quick and fast, we’ve missed him.”

TOTTENHAM likely line-up: Lloris; Doherty, Dier, Alderweireld, Reguilon; Lo Celso, Ndombele, Hojbjerg; Moura, Kane, Son.

Source: Read Full Article