Gareth Bale has praised the attacking methods deployed by Tottenham interim coach Ryan Mason in what appeared a pointed dig at Jose Mourinho’s negative approach.
Mason’s temporary reign got off to a winning start on Wednesday with a 2-1 win over Southampton. Bale’s classy 60th-minute strike cancelled out Danny Ings’ smart header before Son Heung-min scored from the spot in the final minute. The win was enough to put Spurs within two points of fourth place.
Spurs were on the frontfoot for plenty of the game in a style often the polar opposite of Mourinho. Indeed, his style of play was perhaps never suited to Tottenham amid claims of a disagreement between the Portuguese and chairman Daniel Levy.
Indeed, Bale certainly liked what he saw of Mason’s methods. And after the game the winger was asked about how they differed from Mourinho.
“Maybe just to be on the front foot a bit more,” Bale said of Mason. “We want to attack, we’re a big team with big players and we need to try and stay higher up the pitch and I think we did that today.”
Bale also had praise for Mason’s words at the interval as Spurs fought back from 1-0 down at half-time.
“There were a few positional issues with the team, and he told us to be a bit more patient on the ball.
“He gave a good team-talk at half-time. Then we came out in the second-half and played pretty well.”
Spurs will hope to take that winning feeling into Sunday’s Carabao Cup final. The game will hand Spurs the chance to end their 13-year trophy wait.
Mourinho ‘had issues with Bale signing’
Bale’s comments could be linked to the reported issues Mourinho had over the Welshman’s signing in the first place.
Indeed, it has now emerged that Mourinho was reluctant to bring Bale back to the club in the first place. The Daily Telegraph reports the signing was very much on Levy’s insistence and Mourinho accepted the move against his better judgement. Mourinho even went as far as telling Levy he was against his return. However, the paper insists that was just one of a number of disagreements the pair had at Tottenham.
At the heart of Levy’s concerns were the alarming way Tottenham fell off the pace. With Spurs top of the table in December, they have since suffered a poor run of form. It leaves the club desperately scrambling to secure a top-six finish.
Concerns were also being raised by Levy over the style of football. They state Levy was concerned Mourinho’s style wouldn’t be accepted by fans once they were allowed to return to stadiums.