Jose Mourinho has refused to guarantee Gareth Bale a starting role in his side and says ‘everybody has to fight for their position’ at Tottenham this season.
Bale became the north London side’s marquee signing after returning to the club on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid, seven years after first leaving Spurs in a world-record transfer to the Bernabeu.
The two-time PFA Player of the Year made his first appearance since rejoining Spurs during their thrilling 3-3 draw with West Ham on Sunday, though it proved an afternoon to forget for the Welsh international following the home side’s capitulation at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Bale entered the field with Spurs leading by three goals and came close to scoring, only to see his side concede three late goals in a dramatic finish as Manuel Lanzini’s stunning stoppage-time strike sealed a point for the visiting Hammers.
Mourinho refuted suggestions that Bale’s introduction had a negative impact on his side’s display, however, but warned the winger he will receive no preferential treatment at Spurs this season despite his star status.
“I don’t think so, I honestly don’t think so. The decision not to start him was I think a good decision,” Mourinho said at his post match press conference.
“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.”