Gareth Bale in best shape since returning to Spurs, says José Mourinho | Tottenham Hotspur

José Mourinho believes Gareth Bale is in the best condition of his second stint as a Tottenham player and, liberated from anxiety about assorted niggling injuries, has achieved a perfect synthesis between mind and body. “He looks happier than ever,” said the manager. “He looks confident.”

The winger has struggled with fitness and form since returning on loan from Real Madrid last summer but is finally approaching something much closer to peak form, while starting to exert the desired impact.

“The mental is always a consequence of the physical,” Mourinho said. “If a player feels great, if he is training at 100%, then his feelings will be very good. There are no psychological problems, no fears or barriers.

“When you have little things [wrong physically] – and especially when you have a recent history of injuries – it’s normal [to have worries]. Physical things have consequences. But lately Gareth is fine. It is just a question of how many minutes he can play, how many days he needs to recover between matches.”

Mourinho regards the goal Bale scored in Tottenham’s 4-0 Europa League win against Wolfsberger on Wednesday as something of a watershed. The 31-year-old, who started on the bench, met Dele Alli’s pass and caressed a first-time left-foot shot into the top corner.

“When Gareth trains you can see his confidence is back,” said Mourinho. “When he hits a shot like the one in the last game it’s a confidence shot. A player with fear, a player with physical problems, a player with muscular feelings, does not hit that shot, does not strike the ball that way.

“That strike means a lot. That strike means freedom. It means freedom in the relationship between brain and muscle. He’s in his best condition, yes. In his best condition since he arrived.”

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Bale is expected to start the home game with Burnley on Sunday but Mourinho will trust the Welshman’s judgment as to his readiness. “Players with experience know their body better than anyone … We trust him. We trust his experience. We trust his analysis.”

He added: “He’s giving us important contributions bit by bit. Of course, we have a lot of very important matches coming up and we want that in a more continuous way. The more we have Gareth, a player of his quality, of his experience, with his knowhow in big moments, the better. But we have to be careful – and we have to trust a player that has a lot of experience.”

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