Gareth Bale’s goalscoring performance was labelled as “good” by Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho after the Premier League club came from behind to beat Championship side Wycombe 3-1 in their FA Cup fourth round tie on Monday night.
Mourinho’s assessment will boost the spirits of the 31-year-old Wales star, who has had an underwhelming second spell at Spurs since coming on a season long loan from Real Madrid.
He has been hampered by fitness issues, and mostly been confined to Europa League games, playing just 45 minutes of Premier League football since early November.
Mourinho, though played him for the full 90 minutes of the Wycombe game, and Bale showed his rustiness in front of goal by spurning several chances after he had drawn the sides level. However, Mourinho said his overall performance — which set them up with a tough fifth round trip to Everton — had been pleasing. “It was good,” said Mourinho. “Some good movement. “Some one against one, beating people, attacking people, creating chances. Of course scoring a goal.”
Mourinho had spoken ahead of the game of how Bale could not expect to be given game time and that he had to earn it on what he did on the training ground. “Apart from that I never felt he couldn’t play the 90 minutes,” he said. “I never felt that I needed to change him. Of course the Championship is a good, competitive level and the aggression is high and the intensity is good. So I’m happy.”
Mourinho’s side are still involved in four competition’s including the title race and face out of form champions Liverpool tomorrow. Should the Portuguese wish for a relaxing moment prior to that his Wycombe counterpart Gareth Ainsworth, who sings in a rock band, gave him a tantalising invite. “He (Mourinho) said he might not be able to sing but I bet he can play a mean tambourine,” said Ainsworth.
Mourinho took the chance to leave Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Tanguy Ndombele on the bench with Spurs facing a brutal schedule across four competitions in the coming months. But all three were needed in the second-half to get past a Wycombe side that have won just three times in 23 games in the second-tier Championship this season.
Tottenham were forced to come from behind when Fred Onyedinma swept home at the far post on 25 minutes. Japhet Tanganga and Moussa Sissoko struck the crossbar as chances continued to come and go for Mourinho’s men until Bale made amends for his earlier misses by equalising in first-half stoppage time.
Mourinho held nothing in reserve as he tries to end the club’s 13-year wait for a trophy by sending on Kane, Son and Ndombele after the break. An extra 30 minutes were the last thing Spurs needed and they finally made the breakthrough when Harry Winks curled home from the edge of the area after Kane had been denied by Ryan Allsop.
Ndombele has been a player transformed in recent weeks after a difficult first season in England following his move from Lyon for Tottenham’s club record fee. The Frenchman tapped home Son’s pass to make it 3-1 and then showed stunning footwork to bamboozle the Wycombe defence and fire in at the near post in stoppage time.
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