Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho appeared to question Gareth Bale’s attitude after admitting he was surprised the player asked for a scan on an injury he described as “not obvious”.
“I think it is better for me to say: we played against West Brom on the Sunday and he didn’t play, he was on the bench,” said the Spurs boss.
“Monday I was a bit surprised by him wanting to have a scan because he was not feeling comfortable.
“He didn’t train on Monday then on the Tuesday he trained with the team. But I was informed his desire would be to work with the sports science for a couple of days to strengthen that area where he was not feeling comfortable.
“That is the reason why he is not here. I don’t think it is an obvious injur. I would say he feels uncomfortable and because of that training session he couldn’t be 100 per cent.”
Asked whether he felt the Wales international, who has been restricted to 15 appearances this season on his return to the club, needed to play through the niggles he was getting Mourinho added: “Gareth was not here and the only thing I can say is the question I was asked.
“I wanted to make it very clear the situation, which I am being completely open and honest about.”
With Bale absent and Harry Kane as a substitute Tottenham went from 1-0 up to 3-1 down. But they equalised twice to force extra-time.
Their fourth goal came from the England captain after he was summoned off the bench. He became the club’s second-highest scorer with his 209th goal. That took him past Bobby Smith to sit behind only Jimmy Greaves (266 in 379).
However, it was ultimately not enough as another substitute Bernard, who was on the verge of an exit less than a fortnight ago before his move to Dubai-based side Al Nasr collapsed, scored the winner seven minutes into added time.
Spurs ‘the cat’, mistakes ‘the mouse’
As for the game itself, Mourinho added: “I enjoyed it and I didn’t enjoy it. I enjoyed the way we played when we had the ball. Immediately in the first minute we had a great situation when Lamela had a good save by Olsen and that was just the beginning.
“We had the ball, we create, we had a great dynamic, movement, we score goals and create chances to fight against incredible mistakes.
“But attacking football only wins matches when you don’t make more defensive mistakes than what you create. We scored four goals and four was not enough.
“It hurts everyone from our team because the feeling is that we played really well when we had the ball. We were the best team when we were winning 1-0. But in five minutes it was pop, pop, pop, mistake, mistake, mistake, and goal, goal, goal.
“You fight back and then make more mistakes and fight back again. It was the mouse and the cat. The mouse was our defensive mistakes and the cat was us trying to compensate for it.”