Jose Mourinho insists Gareth Bale is not the same player who left Tottenham in 2013

Jose Mourinho insists Gareth Bale is not the same player who left for Real Madrid in 2013 … but the Tottenham boss believes the fighting winger will soon return to a better level after flopping in the defeat to Antwerp.

  • Gareth Bale flops in Tottenham Europa League loss to Royal Antwerp
  • Jose Mourinho was furious and wanted to make 11 changes at half-time
  • Bell was stopped hours earlier and Mourinho insisted he was not the same player
  • Fans hope Bale will rediscover the skintileting form he showed in 2013
  • But Mourinho says even Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are not one

Jose Mourinho has given up hope that Gareth Bale will rediscover the form he gave back to Real Madrid in 2013, acknowledging that neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi will be able to give back to any player this year.

Bell was one of several players frustrated by Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Royal Antwerp in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Mourinho was furious, admitting that he wanted to make 11 changes at half-time, but when Bell’s disturbing performance came to the fore, the Portuguese came to the club’s Bell’s second spell and tried to be philosophical.

Gareth Bale (right) struggled as Tottenham lost to Royal Antwerp in the Europa League

‘I repeat the same thing – seven years is a long, long, long gap,’ says Mourinho. ‘So what player in the world is like him seven years ago?

‘Sometimes they’re not better or worse, they’re just different players. For example, you look at Ronaldo and Messi and compare them to seven years ago.

‘They play in different regions, in different positions. They transform their qualities to try and explore their qualities in other responsibilities in their team’s strategic system.

‘I think it happens to most players, so he’s definitely another player.’

Bell has used the Europa League as a testing ground for his fitness, acknowledging that Mourinho still finds it difficult for Welshman to play 90 minutes.

Bale dropped out of Tottenham in 2013 but this time he is fighting to be the same player

He is confined to the peripheral character and his influence was minimal

He is recovering from a knee injury and has been confined to a peripheral role since taking a loan from Real Madrid.

But Mourinho is optimistic that, ahead of Sunday’s game against Brighton, Bale is ‘improving’ and ‘he will be back’ soon.

‘I believe everything I said on Wednesday because he’s working very hard. He is improving, ‘said Mourinho.

‘He hasn’t had a single injury since returning from the last one. He didn’t even miss a training session.

The 90-minute game is still tough, the high-intensity game is still tough, but he’s improving. He is improving, and hopefully he will return to a more advanced level soon. ‘

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Jafet Tanganga recovered from a thigh problem after he was the only missing and injured on Sunday.

Mourinho has defended Welshman and revealed that he is 'improving' on the training ground

Mourinho has defended Welshman and revealed that he is ‘improving’ on the training ground

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