Jose Mourinho suggested that Gareth Bale may have earned himself more opportunities for Tottenham after his role in their latest Europa League win.
Tottenham took a strong step towards the Round of 16 by winning the away leg of their Round of 32 tie.
Bale got a goal and an assist as Spurs dispatched Wolfsberger 4-1, with Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius the other scorers.
The result means Wolfsberger will have to score four goals in the return leg, or Spurs will be through. Hence, Mourinho is confident of reaching the next round.
“I think we have one foot in the next round,” he said.
“I liked the performance in the first half. The performance in the second half gave them a little bit of self esteem.”
The game provided important opportunities for the likes of Bale and Dele Alli to start. However, neither finished the match.
Mourinho had reasons for taking them off, though.
“We had a result and we had a team performance,” he said. “I believe they were positive like the team was.
“I took Gareth off, I know in this process it was not so easy to play the 90 minutes.
“Dele worked hard. He got a yellow card and with the referee giving yellow cards so easily to us I didn’t want to risk it.”
Bale’s performance may have earned him a chance at more action in the Premier League. Asked if the Welshman could feature upon Spurs’ return to league action against West Ham on Sunday, Mourinho suggested there was a chance.
“I know that the match is already Sunday at 12pm but I believe that he has a chance to play the match and let’s wait,” he said.
“He’s the kind of player also, who is experienced and his feeling are a very important thing, like Harry Kane. I believe for him it was important to play and not to play the full 90 minutes.”
Mourinho explains Kane absence
The other player Mourinho mentioned, Kane, missed the game. The striker has struggled to shake off an injury in recent weeks, despite returning to action.
Kane was not even in the squad for the first leg against Wolfsberger. But Mourinho remains confident he could feature against West Ham after explaining his absence.
“I believe so,” Mourinho said on the topic of Kane’s availability on Sunday. “But experienced guy that had injuries in the past, he knows his body better than anyone.
“He knows I want him to play every minute of every game.
“I wanted to come here with the best team and the players. But he made the decision based on his feeling that to play this game could be a risk based on the accumulation of injuries and minutes he has.
“We and the sports science staff agreed. I believe Sunday he will be OK and ready.”
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