Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho gave a curious and moody response to why he didn’t bring Gareth Bale off of the bench in their defeat to Chelsea on Thursday night, telling journalist Alison Bender: “You don’t deserve an answer.” Mourinho only used two of his three substitutions in the 1-0 loss.
The Portuguese boss started Carlos Vinicius up top in Harry Kane’s absence against Chelsea after the on-loan Bale made just his second Premier League start versus Brighton.
Club hero Bale struggled to make an impact in the 1-0 loss to the Seagulls and was hauled off after an hour.
And Mourinho did not turn to the Welshman against former club Chelsea, bringing on Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura for Steven Bergwijn and Tanguy Ndombele.
The Spurs boss still had a third substitution he was able to use in the closing stages but Bale watched on from the bench instead of coming on to try and change the game.
Asked about why he did not introduce Bale to the fray, Mrs Bender said on Twitter that Mourinho told her: “Good question, but you don’t deserve an answer.”
In his post-match press conference, Mourinho added of the Wales international: “I am doing my best, he is doing his best. Everybody is doing their best.”
Speaking to BT Sport, Mourinho declared that he was satisfied with his team’s improved second-half performance and praised substitutes Lamela and Lucas.
He said: “It was a bit of a struggle but how many chances did they have? The penalty? The struggling, it is what it is.
“We didn’t have the ball, correct. We didn’t create in the first half, correct. But the struggle is the penalty. In the end, it’s a penalty that decides the game.
“In the end they score a penalty which is not a penalty that you say is a dangerous situation, one on one, almost scoring. With a penalty like this it’s a bit painful.
“But in the second half we were different, the spirit was different, the confidence improved. I believe that Lucas and Lamela, they helped the team to change a little bit their dynamic.
“I think the feeling is that we did stick together to the end and that is probably a positive thing that we take because tomorrow we have to train and Sunday we have to train. To finish the game with this positive spirit helps.
“It was difficult, yes, but no chances, and then in the second half I think it was much more difficult for them.
“We pressed them much better, much higher, we brought a different spirit to the game in the second half and I believe that we deserved a little bit more.”
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The return of 31-year-old Bale to north London was met with great excitement in the summer and he has scored four goals in 15 games but has struggled to make his mark in the league.
Speaking pre-match, Mourinho told BT Sport when asked why he started Vinicius over Bale: “He [Vinicius] came here to face a difficult challenge and he knew it.
“As a team guy, he came with that spirit to help the team, especially when Harry Kane is not on the pitch.
“Let’s not compare the boys, if we start comparing, it’s not an easy thing of course.
“But he has lots of energy, he is a guy with incredible spirit. He is a popular guy in the dressing room, he’s a target man. We trust him.”
Spurs will hope to bounce back when they host relegation-threatened West Brom at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday (12pm).
The Londoners beat the Baggies late on through a Kane goal at the Hawthorns back in November in a result that put them a point behind table-topping Leicester.
They now trail leaders Manchester City by 14 points after having both played 21 games, with Spurs losing three league matches on the bounce for the first time in nine years.