West Ham’s late triple spoils Bale’s return to Spurs

October 19 – Gareth Bale’s much-anticipated homecoming to Tottenham Hotspur was overshadowed by his team squandering a 3-0 lead with just minutes remaining against London rivals West Ham on Sunday.

The hosts were cruising when Bale, the world’s most expensive player at the time he was sold to Real Madrid seven years ago, came off the bench for his second Spurs debut after 72 minutes.

The Welshman quickly showed glimpses of his outstanding ability when weaving past three defenders, only to shoot narrowly wide, before Spurs capitulated dramatically as their opponents became the first side in Premier League history to avoid defeat when three goals down by the 81st minute, snatching a point with a wonder strike from Manuel Lanzini with virtually the last kick of the game.

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho, who has built his reputation on being a canny defensive tactician, insisted Bale’s introduction did not distract the players, claiming instead they were not mentally strong enough.

It’s a familiar refrain at Spurs no matter who the manager is and while they are scoring goals for fun and now have a world-class strike force of Bale, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, Mourinho has failed, so far at least, to arrest defensive lapses that have dogged the club for years.

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