Tottenham Hotspur manager José Mourinho has admitted he is looking forward to seeing the best of Gareth Bale from the start in Thursday's Europa League tie with Royal Antwerp.
After a disappointing cameo in the 3-3 draw with West Ham United, Bale showcased his skill against LASK by grabbing an assist and he will hope to build on that when he starts his second consecutive European game on Thursday.
Bale's second start to life at Spurs was slowed down by an injury he was carrying upon his arrival, but Mourinho confessed (via the Telegraph) that all the signs suggest the Welshman is about to explode again.
“Bale is playing and we all have not just the feeling, but also the data that Bale is arriving,” Mourinho admitted.
“He is working very hard. He is being quite a great example for everybody. A big guy like him, travelled to Burnley, stayed on the bench for 90 minutes, didn’t play one minute.
“His behaviour as a team guy is incredible. His behaviour as a Tottenham man is remarkable, and he is coming. I can see just with my eyes, but then the scientific data is also coming, and he is working very well. He is improving, he is improving a lot and I think we can see already Gareth at a good level and hopefully he can fly because he is working very hard. So he’s playing.”
It's a different narrative to the kind Bale is used to. During his seven years with Real Madrid, he faced repeated questions over his commitment to the club and willingness to prove himself to Zinedine Zidane, but Mourinho was adamant that Bale is not that kind of player.
“I can only speak about him with us. And him with us: amazing. Of course, he arrived injured,” Mourinho added. “Of course, when you are injured for such a long time, it takes a little bit of time. We are giving him that time. He is working very hard.
“I think he is very pleased with the level of organisation we have in the club. Probably, he is not used to it. But the way we work between coaching staff, medical staff, sports science area, we are providing all the best conditions for his evolution.
“He was on the bench, he played some minutes, he started a match, he was on the bench, he is starting tomorrow again, and we are giving him time. But again I repeat what I told before: he is in a better place than he was a couple of weeks ago. He is arriving.”