Former West Ham striker Dean Ashton believes Jose Mourinho made the wrong call by not starting Gareth Bale in Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat to the Hammers on Sunday.
Bale was one of Tottenham’s best players in the first leg of the Europa League round of 32 tie against Wolfsberger last week, with the Welshman netting a goal and an assist in the 4-1 win before being withdrawn just past the hour mark.
However, Mourinho chose to start him on the bench for the London derby, with the Spurs boss opting for a front four of Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane.
Bale replaced Lamela at half-time with Spurs 1-0 down and the 31-year-old was the away side’s most dangerous player in the second half as troubled the West Ham defence almost every time he got on the ball.
The on-loan Real Madrid star was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet after his thunderous drive from Kane’s cut back clipped the crossbar.
Mourinho insisted after the game that Bale was not ready to start two games in such quick succession but Ashton claimed that the Spurs boss gave the impetuous to the home side by starting the winger on the bench.
The former England striker told talkSPORT: “It was clear that Bale was great in midweek and should have started.
“They allowed West Ham to get themselves in front.
“It’s always hard when you go two-nil down against a well-organised team like West Ham.
“If you’re going to have real ambitions of the top four then these are the games you’ve got to win.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It is difficult to criticise Mourinho for not starting Bale as we are not privy to the conversations that go on behind the scenes between the pair about the Welshman’s fitness. However, the Tottenham boss did make a bold call to bring him on at half-time and I would not be surprised to see the 31-year-old now being rested for the second leg against Wolfsberger and starting against Burnley on Sunday.
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