Jose Mourinho’s starting line-up for Wednesday evening’s 4-0 UEFA Europa League last-32 second-leg win over Wolfsberger AC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was based upon him having a firm eye on Sunday’s Premier League clash with Burnley.
That is according a whole host of Spurs supporters who flooded social media in response to the Portuguese chief’s selection choice.
Following Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to West Ham United at the London Stadium, Mourinho made nine changes to his starting line-up for the tussle with the Austrian side, with only Eric Dier and Erik Lamela surviving the chop. However, although changes were likely, Spurs fans were shocked by his Gareth Bale’s omission from the starting line-up.
With Spurs trailing 1-0 at half time against the Hammers at the weekend, Mourinho made a double change at half time in the hope of seeing his side getting back into the contest, with one of those coming on being Bale.
Although the Welshman’s return to north London has not gone according to plan this season, his cameo role against David Moyes’ side was impressive, as he imposed himself on the game, showed a willingness to attack and struck fear into the Hammers’ defensive line.
In addition to that, the Real Madrid loanee also claimed an assist for Lucas Moura’s consolation goal and rattled the crossbar with a sublime effort that almost drew Spurs level.
It was an encouraging showing that left plenty of supporters watching on TV at home that he could still have an impact on proceedings between now and the end of the campaign.
But despite impressing in the second 45 at the London Stadium, Bale did not do enough to earn a start against Wolfsberger, with Spurs 4-1 up after the first-leg and already all but assured of a spot in the last-16 of the Europa League this term.
After the Welsh international was left on the bench, no shortage of Spurs fans were left confident enough that Mourinho saw enough from the winger on Sunday to reward with him with a starting berth against Burnley on Sunday, opposed to risking him this evening when the tie is all but sealed.
Above, football.london took a close look a what some Spurs had to say on social media in response to Bale not being named in the starting line-up this evening. As you can see, the theory that was decided is that he was being saved for Sunday’s must-win tussle with Burnley at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as Spurs aim to get back on track in the Premier League.
Whilst that may be true, Mourinho did reward Bale with 17 minutes towards the end of the tie as he stepped off the bench to score for the second time in three matches.
The winger latched onto Dele Alli’s clever pass and emphatically fired home Spurs’ third goal of the night, high into the top corner. Now, after delivering another solid showing off the bench, the Welshman will be eyeing a start against Burnley.