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Jose Mourinho admits to being left “surprised” by Gareth Bale’s latest absence from the Tottenham fold, with a “not obvious” injury complaint seeing the Welshman forced back onto the sidelines.
A loan spell back in familiar surroundings for the 31-year-old forward has not played out as planned, with niggling fitness issues following him back to north London from Real Madrid.
Bale was not involved in Spurs’ matchday squad for a thrilling 5-4 FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Everton, with Mourinho revealing that the Wales international had requested a scan and ruled himself out of contention.
“I think it is better for me to say: we played against West Brom on the Sunday and he didn't play, he was on the bench,” Mourinho told reporters regarding Bale.
“Monday I was a bit surprised by him wanting to have a scan because he was not feeling comfortable.
“He didn't train on Monday then on the Tuesday he trained with the team but I was informed his desire would be to work with the sports science for a couple of days to strengthen that area where he was not feeling comfortable.
“That is the reason why he is not here. I don't think it is an obvious injury, I would say he feels uncomfortable and because of that training session he couldn't be 100 per cent.”
Tottenham have played 38 games across all competitions this season.
Those outings have come in the Premier League, Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa League.
Bale, who returned from Madrid nursing a knock, has figured in just 15 of those contests.
He has graced just six matches in the English top-flight, with those outings totalling 230 minutes.
Having once been a prolific presence, only four goals have been recorded in the current campaign – alongside no assists.
Injury struggles have become an all too familiar theme in recent years, with his regular unavailability contributing to a tumble down the pecking order in Spain that saw him frozen out under Zinedine Zidane.