Jose Mourinho denied that bringing Gareth Bale on against West Ham had a negative impact on Tottenham.
It wasn’t the dream second debut that Bale was hoping for on Sunday, as Spurs gave away a three-goal advantage to be held to a draw.
The last-minute equaliser from Manuel Lanzini was spectacular, but it might not have changed the game if Bale had taken a big opportunity moments earlier.
The Wales forward came on in the 72nd minute of the game, at which point Tottenham were still 3-0 up thanks to their impressive start to the game.
However, West Ham scored in the 82nd, 85th and 94th minutes to come away with a share of the spoils.
In between their last two goals, Bale could have put Spurs 4-2 up after doing well to get one-on-one with Lukasz Fabianski. But despite doing the hard work, his shot hit the wrong side of the post.
However, Mourinho was refusing to blame Bale for the turn of events.
“Don’t think so, honestly don’t think so,” he said when asked if Bale’s introduction to the game changed things for the worse.
“The decision not to start him was I think a good decision. A decision to show that he doesn’t have a beautiful chair waiting for him in the team and he sits there the first time he can.
“It was a message to the team that in this team everybody has to fight for positions.
“He’s very well accepted in the group. Everyone likes him, and I believe he also likes what he found here. So everything is positive and the focus was not on him.
“The focus was on the game and he was on the bench for 65 minutes or so and I don’t think so, I don’t think at all.
“It’s a pity that he couldn’t score that fourth goal which was a beauty and would have killed the game. But that’s football.”
Mourinho praises West Ham belief
In the aftermath of the game, Mourinho also diverted the attention away from Tottenham’s collapse and towards West Ham’s comeback.
He told Sky Sports: “Football. Of course I have to analyse the second half and have to do it internally, but for you I prefer to say football happened, and praise West Ham’s belief.
“It is not easy to be losing 3-0 and be dominated, to keep the belief. I knew they are a different team to last season, but to lose an advantage of three goals is a big punishment and eventually deserved.”