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‘Ask Real Madrid’ – Mourinho on why Bale took so long to find form

premier league tottenham hotspur v burnley
The 31-year-old spent much of the first half of the campaign in the treatment room or the bench as Mourinho struggled to get anything out of him, but in recent weeks Bale has been resurgent

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho says Real Madrid have the answers as to why it took Gareth Bale so long to regain his best form.

Bale’s Spurs homecoming looked like it was going to be a flop after struggling with fitness issues that came as a result of two years of relative inactivity at the Spanish club.

The 31-year-old spent much of the first half of the campaign in the treatment room or the bench as Mourinho struggled to get anything out of him, but in recent weeks Bale has been resurgent.

His devastating display against Burnley, scoring two and making another, showed there is still life in his legs, which comes at a good time for Spurs heading into a crucial part of the season.

But Mourinho says Madrid will know why it has taken until March for his fitness to reach its peak.

“Why for the past two years did he have what he had in Madrid? Ask them,” he said.

“Maybe if they answer to you, you can understand better why it took a while, or maybe to be patient was the main reason for him to reach the level that he showed in the last couple of weeks.”

Mourinho said after his display against Burnley that they would continue to manage his minutes, but confirmed he will be involved against Fulham on Thursday in some capacity.

“I believe so. Start the game, being on the bench, I don’t know. We have to decide,” Mourinho said.

“He’s such an experienced guy that of course his opinion is very important. But good reaction, good recovery sessions. He will be involved. I repeat, bench or starting, but he will be there.”

Giovani Lo Celso remains the only absentee as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.

“(He is) training with the team, but it was a big injury. We are not going to risk yet,” he said. “In fact we don’t want to risk, we want to bring him to the team and to competition when there is no risk.

“So one more week, two more weeks. Apart from that, everybody OK. One more training session (on Wednesday afternoon), but we think OK.”

Wales defender Joe Rodon got a run of games earlier this year and impressed Mourinho with his display against Liverpool at the end of January, but has now not featured for the last month.

Mourinho said the 23-year-old, who was again left out of the Europa League squad, is working his hardest to get back in his plans.

“He has to do nothing. He works very hard, good professional,” Mourinho said. “He has to do nothing.

“He cannot play in the Europa League so that makes his chances reduced, in relation to the other guys. Centre-back is a position where of course if he was in the Europa League he would have lots of chances to play in these 11 matches that we did.

“There’s nothing. He’s perfect, works very hard, young guy, wants to learn, very enthusiastic, he played already matches that represent a lot, he played important matches against some of the best teams. He has just to wait for his opportunities and to get it.”

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