Jose Mourinho praises Gareth Bale's defensive work in 'team' display

Jose Mourinho hails Gareth Bale’s defensive work in a ‘team’ performance against Burnley… but the Tottenham manager admits he is worried about the upcoming international break

  • Jose Mourinho has praised Gareth Bale’s defensive work in 4-0 win over Burnley
  • The Welshman put in his best performance to date with two goals and an assist
  • But Mourinho has pointed out that Bale was also on duty to help out the defence
  • Tottenham play Fulham on Thursday evening and Bale will again be involved

Jose Mourinho has hailed Gareth Bale’s defensive contributions after the Welshman put in a stunning performance as Tottenham waltzed passed a helpless Burnley 4-0 last weekend. 

The Welshman continued his resurgence with two goals and an assist to add to his recent eye-catching displays against Manchester City, West Ham and Wolfsberger, with his tally now standing at seven goal contributions in four games.

It was perhaps the first time the attacking trio of Bale, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min had lived up to its initial hype, though Burnley boss Sean Dyche subsequently insisted that everyone in the Premier League was already aware of their quality. 

Mourinho was unsurprisingly delighted by Bale’s emphatic display, but he has now delved slightly deeper, highlighting his work off the ball. 

Gareth Bale scored two and assisted one as Tottenham cruised to a 4-0 win over Burnley

Jose Mourinho has confirmed Bale will be involved once more against Fulham on Thursday

During his press conference prior to Thursday’s London derby against Fulham, Mourinho was asked whether his attackers were being allowed to flourish due to the defensive work of summer signing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

‘We played very attacking football but everyone defended. That’s football now,’ he said, refuting the claim. 

‘Every player has to defend. Sonny had to defend, [Harry] Kane had to defend and Gareth Bale had to defend.

‘Even on defensive set pieces you could see Gareth winning balls at the far post and clearing it. That’s a team.’

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (R) has been a key player for Mourinho since his £15m summer move

Mourinho made sure not to play down Hojbjerg’s crucial role in the team, however, with the midfielder starting all of Tottenham’s 25 Premier League games this season. 

The three-time Premier League winner did insist there remains significant competition for places, though, with the Europa League providing those on the fringes with a real opportunity to impress.  

He added: ‘We can of course say that Pierre is not the most creative player or he is psychically stronger than the others or he has an important role in the team but the team is not an accumulation of players.

‘A team is much more than that and we are happy with Pierre of course, but to be honest, in this moment, also Winks and Sissoko, working well, playing well.

‘The last match in the Europa League they played in they played very well.

‘So every player in this moment is ready to play.’

Mourinho will certainly have to utilise the full depths of his squad with Tottenham facing a packed schedule that includes six matches in March. 

However, following a tricky spell, Mourinho then faces further worries, with many of his players heading off on international duty. 

Harry Kane (L) is just one of many Tottenham players who will leave for international duty

‘I am concerned but there is nothing in my hands that I can do. Nothing at all,’ he said.

‘When they go to the national teams they’re not our players. Then they belong to the national teams. Then they belong to the national coaches.

‘What they do in training is out of our control and what they do in between matches and how they recover is out of our control.

‘The way the national manager uses them and plays them and what he asked of them is also technically out of our hands. Everything is out of our hands.’

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