Jose Mourinho is in the middle of his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s London derby against West Ham, and in typical Mourinho fashion he’s not giving much away when it comes to Gareth Bale. Speaking to the press, Mou was asked whether Bale would make his second Spurs debut at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium against the Hammers, and his response was basically I’m not saying.
“Of course he wants to play. He wanted to play since the day he arrived but wasn’t possible. I’m not going to tell you if he’s going to play or not. What I will tell you is that he’s working very well. He’s working the way he probably hasn’t been able to do for some time.
“The planning of the recent sessions had a big focus on him. His condition is good. Does he play Sunday or Thursday, we haven’t made a decision yet. Every player is a very important player but the Gareth situation is very special because of the history. We care about him as much as he does for Tottenham.”
While it’s frustrating as a fan not to know whether Bale will play on Sunday, either as a starter or off the bench, it makes sense for Mou to keep his cards close to his vest on this one. After all, Gareth Bale is a player that West Ham might want to create a specific tactical plan to counter, and keeping his participation an open question makes it perhaps that much more difficult to adjust.
Bale’s certainly looked happy in recent training photos released by the clubs, which is nice to see, and there have been anonymous rumors coming out of the club that he’s been impressing in training the past week or so now that he’s recovered from the injury he had when he joined from Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Mourinho did confirm that we are unlikely to see either Giovani Lo Celso or Japhet Tanganga. Both of them are dealing with injuries of their own. “No they’re both out injured,” Mourinho said. “It’s the hamstring [for Lo Celso]. Hopefully not too long.” Lo Celso being out likely means another league start for Tanguy Ndombele, and while a Gio injury is not ideal if it means Tanguy gets more time in league play then that seems like a pretty good outcome.
Tottenham host West Ham this Sunday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Kick-off is 11:30 a.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. BST.