Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Gareth Bale will start for Tottenham in the Europa League on Thursday against Ludogorets.
Bale to start
The £22.5m-valued Wales international (Transfermarkt) played a huge role from the bench for Spurs against Brighton on Sunday in the Premier League – his header gave Mourinho’s team all three points.
Since signing on loan from Real Madrid, Bale is yet to start a game in the league. Mourinho has admitted that he needs to look after the 31-year-old but confirmed that he will play from the beginning this midweek. He said:
“He doesn’t have 90 minutes of a Premier League match in his legs yet so we’re using the Europa League to complement his training process. We are using some matches in the Premier League when we decide to play him and the normal tendency for him will be of course to be better and better and better.
“That’s it. He will start again on Thursday and even in a Europa League match when the intensity is different to the Premier League I will not play him for 90 minutes. I always will have this care with him until we feel that he’s ready.”
It is not surprising to see that Bale is lacking match fitness. He only signed on loan from the 13-time European champions at the start of October, with him not making a single appearance before then. Last season, he only appeared in 20 matches in all competitions.
Will Gareth Bale score against Ludogorets?
However, this goal will be massively important – it now gets him up and running. Before this, there had been flashes of what he is capable of, but Mourinho will have been hoping for a lot more.
Whilst the Europa League may at times be awkward, it could well be a blessing in disguise for the Lilywhites – it gives valuable minutes for the likes of Bale to get up to speed. The sooner he gets back to his best, the better.
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