Tottenham return to Premier League action on Sunday with a home fixture against David Moyes’ West Ham.
Spurs enjoyed a good run of form before the international break, going unbeaten in all competitions following their opening day defeat to Everton and reaching the group stages of the Europa League and the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup.
With seven games to go before the next international break in November, Tottenham are sixth in the league with seven points, though upcoming opponents West Ham only trail by one after successive victories against Wolves and Leicester.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game, manager Jose Mourinho gave injury updates to the press and also spoke about Gareth Bale’s return and Arsene Wenger’s new book.
Mourinho confirmed midfielder Giovani Lo Celso, who withdrew from international duty with Argentina, will miss Sunday’s game along with Japhet Tanganga.
“No, they’re both out injured,” the former Chelsea boss said. “It’s the hamstring [for Lo Celso]. Hopefully not too long.”
Central defender Eric Dier is another doubt, having withdrawn from the England set-up with a hamstring complaint. However, Harry Kane has arrived back in north London with no fitness issues and Mourinho confirmed he will start at the weekend.
Naturally, there has been a lot of excitement among the club’s fanbase over the prospect of Gareth Bale making his second debut for Tottenham.
However, Mourinho remained relatively tightlipped on whether or not the Welshman will get his chance, but admitted the loanee will ‘probably’ play.
“Of course he wants to play,” he said. “He wanted to play since the day he arrived but it wasn’t possible. I’m not going to tell you if he’s going to play or not. What I will tell you is that he’s working very well. He’s working the way he probably hasn’t been able to do for some time.
“The planning of the recent sessions had a big focus on him. His condition is good. Does he play Sunday or Thursday, we haven’t made a decision yet. Every player is a very important player but the Gareth situation is very special because of the history. We care about him as much as he does for Tottenham.”
There is further excitement over Bale linking up with Kane and Son Heung-min – the club’s two standout performers so far this season – but Mourinho pointed to the depth in his squad instead.
He added: “We have a squad where every player has to fight a lot for a place in the team. I believe you can see Son and Bale playing together, and also both together on the bench and also both enjoying a hot tea in the box. We have so many good options so I refuse to say that anyone is a first choice.”
Arsene Wenger’s recently released a book chronicling his time at Arsenal, though Mourinho doesn’t feature in it. Maybe that’s because Mourinho once called his old rival a ‘voyeur’ or a ‘specialist in failure’, or maybe it’s something else.
Nevertheless, Mourinho still gave an interesting take on his omission from Wenger’s My Life in Red and White, hinting it might be something to do with his superior record when the two legendary managers have gone head to head.
He quipped: “Because he never beat me. You are not going to do a chapter about 14 matches that you never win so why should he speak about me in a book. A book is to make you proud!”