Former Tottenham defender Gary Stevens admitted that he was at a loss to understand why Gareth Bale took a late free-kick against Newcastle without having previously had a touch of the ball.
Tottenham were handed a golden opportunity to move into fourth place (at least temporarily) when they travelled to St James Park on Sunday after Chelsea had lost to West Brom on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho decided to keep faith in the same eleven that beat Aston Villa 2-0 ahead of the international break and the game seemed to be going to plan at half-time, with Spurs coming back from being 1-0 down to lead 2-1 as a result of a quick-fire Harry Kane brace.
However, the second half performance from the away side left a lot to be desired as they were happy to sit off Newcastle at times.
While Spurs had chances to win the game on the counter-attack, the Magpies also looked threatening every time they got the ball into attacking areas.
The home side eventually got their reward with five minutes left on the clock as Joe Willock thumped home the equaliser after Tottenham failed to clear a cross into the box.
Spurs then threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser and when they got a free kick on a decent area, Mourinho decided to throw Bale on, with the Welshman blazing the free-kick high over the bar with his first touch of the ball.
Stevens was at a loss to explain why the 31-year-old took the set-piece.
Spurs free kick in shooting distance … @GarethBale11 just on as a sub and knocks it miles over the bar, his first touch of the ball. He might have kicked a ball at half time, if not it was in pre match warm up when he last did so … I don’t understand why he takes it ?????
— Gary Stevens (@GaryStevensUK) April 4, 2021
Spurs Web Opinion
Bale being handed that free-kick was the least of our problems on Sunday as the performance, particularly after we took the lead, once again showed up our mental and tactical frailties. Bale might have got the free-kick horribly wrong but the risk with the knuckle-ball technique he goes for is always that the ball can sail high and wide if the contact is not perfect. The Welshman is certainly capable of rifling the ball into the top corner from that position and so, the decision to hand him the freekick was the right one.
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