José Mourinho has criticised Gareth Bale for breaking ranks to give a “totally wrong” impression about his fitness. The Tottenham winger posted to Instagram on Tuesday that he had enjoyed a “good session” on the training ground pitches earlier in the day, adding a bicep curl emoji for emphasis.
In Mourinho’s opinion, Bale made it seem as if he was ready to play at Everton in the FA Cup tie on Wednesday night when, in fact, he had told the manager he was not feeling 100% and excused himself from travelling.
Mourinho then felt compelled to clarify the situation after the 5-4 defeat, giving details he had not wanted to make public. He said Bale had requested a scan on an unspecified problem on Monday and, after training on Tuesday, had still felt uncomfortable, even though the scan had not shown an injury. Bale remains a doubt for Saturday’s Premier League visit to Manchester City.
“I have to admit that his post created something that needed to be addressed because there was a contradiction between the post and the reality,” Mourinho said. “Since the beginning of the season, in relation to everything, I tried to be very, very private and tried to keep everything indoors but I’ve felt that I needed to address the situation.
“Probably the post was not even his responsibility, I don’t know … but the post was: ‘Training session great,’ so I’m ready and it was totally wrong. When I was questioned, I had to say the reality of the things which I [will now] repeat for the last time and I hope there are no more questions about it because the situation was exactly the way I told [it].
“He was not feeling good, he asked for a scan, he had the scan, the scan did not show an injury but his feelings were still there and coaches and sports science and medical people … we can never go against those feelings because a player’s feelings are much more important than all of us so he was not ready for the game. It’s as simple as that. If he’s ready for tomorrow, he’s selected for tomorrow.”
Spurs were dreadful defensively at Everton, making individual errors, which have been a theme in recent matches; City, by contrast, have been close to perfect in the department during a run of 15 straight victories. Mourinho was asked whether he could ever foresee being able to fix his backline with the kind of big-money signings that his City counterpart, Pep Guardiola, has made.
“No,” Mourinho said. “I knew that I was going to come to a different reality [at Spurs] – a big club but with a different profile in terms of being or not being a candidate to win competition A or B. A club [not] being able to resolve problems with a cheque. The club made the possible efforts in the summer to improve the team and I’m not complaining with anything.”
Mourinho was entertaining on the subject of Spurs’s Carabao Cup final merchandise. The club have brought out a range to celebrate getting to Wembley on 25 April, where they will face City, which includes pens, key-rings, mugs, pennants, flags and T-shirts. It has led to predictable mickey-taking from rival fans.
“If you ask me if am I going to buy anything, I am not going to buy anything,” Mourinho said. “If you tell me if you lose the final, what are you going to do with your silver medal … first of all, I think I am going to win the final and, secondly, if you want my silver medal, I give [it] to you because I don’t want to keep it.
“But merchandising is about making money. Sell anything you can sell. Man United sell everything – mattresses, pillows, shoulder or neck supports. So probably they are doing very well. How many millions is Tottenham losing every match we play at home [during the pandemic]? We have to make money so we go to a final – try to sell some pins, some shirts, key-rings, anything. So well done.”