Gareth Bale claimed he only needed a run of games to get back to his best after scoring a hat-trick against Sheffield United on Sunday.
Bale returned to Tottenham on loan from Real Madrid in the summer. The move prompted much excitement from fans after his previous spell with the club. That ended with him becoming the world’s most expensive player but he hasn’t always recaptured such form since.
After being frozen out of the picture at Madrid, he was allowed to return to Spurs for the season. However, he struggled to build up momentum back in London, despite flashes of his quality.
But the biggest reminder yet of what he can do came on Sunday, when he scored three times against basement side Sheffield United. It was his first Premier League hat-trick since returning to English football.
It also meant he has now actually scored more goals than the number of games he has started in the Premier League this season.
Doubts remain over whether Bale will be able to become a permanent Tottenham player again next season. However, in the aftermath of his performance against the Blades, he was simply glad to be back towards his best.
“It’s always nice to get another hat-trick and another match ball,” he told Sky Sports.
“I remember my last hat-trick – Villa away I think. It was a while ago and it’s nice to get a hat-trick, but more importantly it’s three points for the team and we move on to the next one.
Gareth Bale: Contract says I must return to Real Madrid
Tottenham Hotspur loanee Gareth Bale says he will return to Real Madrid in the summer - as per the terms of his loan contract - but may then have to discuss the future with his agent.
“It was a great performance by everyone especially Serge [Aurier, who provided two assists]. I said if it was three assists he could have the match ball.
“Winning always makes everyone happy and gives a winning mentality to the dressing room. It’s not going to happen overnight but I feel like we’re taking a step in the right direction.
“Obviously you have to take your chances when they come, and thankfully I had a few tonight.
“I’m feeling good. As I’ve said before I just needed to play games and get a run of games and I’m doing that now, so I’m happy and when I’m happy I normally play well.”
‘Playing more like the Tottenham way’
It has been a frustrating season for not just Bale but Tottenham as a whole. Earlier in the campaign they briefly topped the table and looked like potential title challengers.
But things quickly stagnated and fans grew annoyed with Jose Mourinho’s style of play. The head coach was finally dismissed last month, being replaced by Ryan Mason on an interim basis.
Bale previously played alongside Mason during the latter’s own playing career, although they only shared a pitch twice. But the Welshman is happy with the style of play the 29-year-old has implemented and claims it is closer to how Tottenham should be approaching games.
“It was a great performance by the team,” Bale continued. “From the first whistle I felt we were on the front foot and got control of it and played some good football.
“I feel like we are taking a step in the right direction and playing more like the Tottenham way.”