José Mourinho believes Gareth Bale will rediscover his best form after returning to Tottenham and has acclaimed Daniel Levy as a “genius” for his work in the transfer window.
Bale was Spurs’ most eye-catching arrival and could make his second debut at home to West Ham on Sunday. Mourinho expects the 31-year-old to replicate the performances that took him to Real Madrid for a then world-record £85m in 2013 and indicated Bale would primarily be used on the right.
“When he reaches his continuity and when he reaches his normal intensity and dynamic, I think he can be the player that people saw, being decisive when he went to Real Madrid in a very similar position,” Tottenham’s manager said.
After arriving in London with a knee injury, Bale has returned to full training. Mourinho said Harry Kane would start after recent muscle discomfort led to tension between Mourinho and England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, and that Bale would “probably” play.
“It’s great to listen from Sergio Reguilón, who shared the dressing room with him in Madrid, that Gareth looks a different guy,” Mourinho said. “So if he’s happy with us then he goes home and he can share that happiness with family; it’s the best thing that can happen to him. But he needs his football and he needs to feel a top player again and that’s why I’m saying all the decisions we make with him will be thinking first about the team but never forgetting what is best for him.”
Mourinho expressed gratitude towards Levy, the chairman, for investing heavily in the squad, noting that Tottenham’s recent signings exceeded his expectations.
“In such a difficult period where I always believed we were not able to reach some of the targets, some of the needs, the club made an incredible effort. Mr Levy showed once more that when he wants and when he is really involved, he is genius in the way he makes deals happen and I can only thank them for what they gave to the team and now it’s for me, for my staff to answer in a positive way and have a good season.”
Many years into his career, Mourinho retains his sharp tongue. Asked about Arsène Wenger’s decision not to mention him in his book, he gave a pointed response. “Because he never beat me,” he said, laughing – and incorrectly. “You are not going to do a chapter about 12 or 14 matches and never win one. So why should he speak about me in his book? A book is a thing to make you happy, to make you proud.”