Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is intrigued to see what the reaction to Gareth Bale’s winning goal against Brighton is back in Madrid.
Bale climbed off the bench to head home the first goal of his second spell in north London and it was an important one as it earned a 2-1 victory which moved Spurs up to second in the Premier League.
The Wales international arrived back at Spurs on a season-long loan from Real Madrid in September after a torrid final couple of years in the Spanish capital, where he fell out of favour with Zinedine Zidane and was heavily criticised by the fans.
It has been a slow start for him, but he is feeling the love back at the club where he developed into the world’s most expensive player and Mourinho was delighted.
“I’m very pleased for him, especially for him because he deserves that,” he said. “When I have five minutes I’m going to Safari to look at Madrid websites to see what they say.
“He knows we care about him and we know he cares about us, the team and the club, Spurs. He’s the perfect fit, he’s very calm, very intelligent, he has good feelings.
“He had bad feelings before, because the training process was hard, and his body was suffering a little bit, but we gave him what he needs as a whole.
“I am speaking about sports science, medical, my assistants, the other players. I’m very pleased for him to score this winning goal.
“I told already for about a week or so, I’m saying he’s improving. It’s not just by watching him, the data supports our training process. We knew. The good thing is Gareth also knows. We share ideas and share feelings.
“He doesn’t have 90 minutes of a Premier League match in his legs yet so we’re using the Europa League to complement his training process.
“We are using some matches in the Premier League when we decide to play him and the normal tendency for him will be of course to be better and better and better. I always will have this care with him until we feel that he’s ready.”
Bale came to Spurs’ rescue as they were being held in a game that was dominated by VAR drama.
VAR official Jonathan Moss awarded Spurs an early penalty, adjudging Harry Kane to have been fouled inside the box when it looked marginal, with Kane sending the spot-kick home for his 149th Premier League goal.
The official then ruled Brighton should not be awarded what looked a clear penalty of their own, and even advised referee Graham Scott to check Tariq Lamptey’s second-half equaliser, but the goal stood after what looked a foul on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Mourinho said it should not be the managers’ responsibility to come out and try and give an explanation to the decisions.
“They are decisions that I think they should explain and not leaving us in front of you, and us explaining things that many, many times we don’t find any explanation to it,” he added. “So I prefer not to speak about it.
“I see Scott as a good referee. He had the opportunity to go to the screen and watch on the screen the same thing we watched on the bench on our iPad. He should explain but I know that’s not going to happen so let’s move on and speak about a very difficult match that we won.”
Graham Potter took a similar view and chose to take the positives out of a plucky defeat.
“There is a little bit of a talking point about our penalty decision,” he said. “It is another conversation around refereeing and VAR which I am not too interested in. I can’t control what they do, when I saw them live I wasn’t sure about Harry Kane’s one.
“I thought our one was a bit… similar to the Tariq Lamptey one against Crystal Palace, and there may have been a foul leading up to our goal.
“Lots of things going on. Live it is hard to say. I’d rather focus on our performance, it was really, really good tonight.
“Disappointed with the result, but really pleased with the positives. We pushed Tottenham hard and are disappointed to come away with nothing.
“It would be more concerning if we weren’t playing well, our performances have been good on the whole.”