Tottenham's Mourinho critical of Bale over fitness claim

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - February 7, 2021 Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale warms up on the sideline during the match Pool via REUTERS/Matt Dunham

LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho has criticised Gareth Bale after the forward's Instagram post earlier this week in which he indicated he was fit to play against Everton.

Bale's return to Spurs on loan from Real Madrid has been an anti-climax with the Welshman barely featuring in the Premier League because of injuries and lack of match fitness.

Ahead of Tottenham's FA Cup fifth-round clash at Everton on Wednesday, Bale posted a comment saying he had enjoyed a "good session" in training but he was not even on the bench at Goodison Park.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mourinho said Bale's comment was misleading and that the player had asked not to be included in the squad despite a scan showing no injury.

"I have to admit that his post created something that needed to be addressed because there was a contradiction between the post and the reality," Mourinho said in a news conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Premier League leaders Manchester City.

"Since the beginning of the season, in relation to everything, I tried to be very private, tried to keep everything indoors but I've felt that I needed to address the situation.

"Probably the post was not even his responsibility, I don't know... but the post was: 'Training session great,' so I'm ready and it was totally wrong."

Adding more detail on Bale's situation in the build-up to the Everton game, Mourinho said: "He was not feeling good, he asked for a scan, he had the scan, the scan didn't show an injury but his feelings were still there.

"But coaches, sports science and medical people can never go against feelings because the players' feelings are more important than all of us, so he was not ready for the game and it was as simple as that.

"If he's ready for tomorrow he's selected for tomorrow."

The 31-year-old Bale has started only two Premier League games since returning to the club on loan in October, having fallen out of favour at Real Madrid. He has featured more in the Europa League but his return has been a disappointment.

Former Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov said the situation did not look like having a happy ending.

"It's a bad situation for the team, for the player and for the manager, and that isn't pleasant to see and watch," the Bulgarian said in an interview with Betfair.

"Honestly, I don't see how this situation can be resolved, from what I have seen so far from Bale there is something lacking there, and I don't see how there can be a happy ending. It's a weird situation."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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