Bale earns Mourinho's praise with scoring display

Gareth Bale celebrates nodding in Tottenham's equaliser against Championship side Wycombe. Spurs' 4-1 win earned them a trip to Goodison Park to play Everton in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Gareth Bale celebrates nodding in Tottenham's equaliser against Championship side Wycombe. Spurs' 4-1 win earned them a trip to Goodison Park to play Everton in the fifth round of the FA Cup.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho heaped praise on Gareth Bale after the Welsh forward scored in Monday's 4-1 victory at second-tier Wycombe Wanderers in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Bale started for the first time since Dec 23 and netted the equaliser in first-half stoppage time after Fred Onyedinma had given the Championship side a shock lead.

The 31-year-old has struggled for form and fitness, making just one start and four appearances in the Premier League this season.

However, he looked sharp in completing his first 90 minutes since returning on loan from Real Madrid for his second spell with the club.

"He was good. Good movements, one against one, beating people, attacking, creating chances, scoring a goal," Mourinho told reporters.

"I never felt he could not play 90 minutes, I never felt I needed to change him."

Mourinho made 10 changes to the side that beat Sheffield United in their last league game but brought on first-team regulars Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Tanguy Ndombele as they chased the win in the second half.

Harry Winks put Spurs ahead in the 86th minute before Ndombele struck twice to book their spot in the fifth round.

Spurs, along with Manchester City, are the only teams in the hunt for a quadruple - both sides will contest the League Cup final on April 25 - and are equally in the mix for the league title, the FA Cup as well as their respective European competitions.

Despite adding a fifth-round tie against Everton to a crowded fixture schedule, Mourinho has insisted Spurs are determined to compete on all four fronts.

He added: "Even when we had to play four matches in one week and people thought we were going to give away Europa League or Carabao Cup, we didn't.

"Today, we brought the whole squad, only Hugo Lloris stayed at home. February, we have to play three competitions with FA Cup and then Europa League.

"Of course, it will be very hard but we have to try."

Spurs are fifth in the league with 33 points and host champions Liverpool tomorrow. A victory at home will see them overtake the Reds into fourth place, while still holding a game in hand on Jurgen Klopp's team.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2021, with the headline 'Bale earns Mourinho's praise with scoring display'. Subscribe