Mourinho claims Gareth Bale is ‘better than ever’
‘Now he’s not flat. Now he has ups and downs in the speed he brings to his actions’
Gareth Bale celebrates with Serge Aurier after scoring against Burnley. Photograph: EPA
The Wales international delivered the most devastating impact of his second spell in north London with two goals and an assist in the 4-0 victory against the Clarets.
Bale’s homecoming from Real Madrid had threatened to be a flop after he suffered with fitness issues for the first half of the campaign and more often than not found himself on the bench - but showed he is back to his best.
Mourinho, who barely used him during that period, said the 31-year-old is no longer “flat” and is “better than ever”.
Mourinho said: “Sometimes people write things, and sometimes, some of you like to imagine stories, you need to write stories and sometimes you like to say things that are not really true but there is not one single manager in the world that doesn’t play Gareth Bale if Gareth Bale is in very good condition.
“There is not one, but now he is better than ever.
“It’s not just about the two goals he scored, it’s fundamentally about his physical performance. Now he’s not flat. Now he has ups and downs in the speed he brings to his actions.
“Even in the area in which he plays, sometimes outside, sometimes inside. He played very well and his condition is very good. I’m just pleased for the team because he helped the team to win and that’s the most important thing. I’m happy for him.”
Bale lasted 70 minutes against the Clarets and will be instrumental in deciding whether he will be ready for two Premier League games in four days next week.
“Day after day, day after day, and as I was saying, he is experienced and his knowledge of his body and his feelings are going to be fundamental,” Mourinho added.
“A player that gives me this kind of performance of course I want to play him on Thursday and on Sunday, and I want to play him next week against Dinamo Zagreb but I don’t think I can.
“So this is a process that we have to manage day by day and see how he feels tomorrow and see how he feels after tomorrow. He’s a very important part of this decision-making because he has a lot of experience.”