EUROPA LEAGUE

Bale improving and set to start for Spurs against Antwerp

Jose Mourinho started Gareth Bale in the win over LASK and the 31-year-old is set to play from tkick-off in Thursday's meeting with Royal Antwerp.

Bale 'improving a lot' ahead of Europa League start for Spurs

Gareth Bale's fitness is "improving a lot" as the Welshman prepares to make his second start of the season for Tottenham in the Europa League tomorrow night. 

Bale made his first start since returning to the Premier League club in the 3-0 win over LASK last week. The 31-year-old had previously been used off the bench against West Ham, coming on midway through the second half before Jose Mourinho's side conceded a three-goal lead to draw 3-3.  However, the Welsh forward remained an unused substitute during Spurs' 0-1 victory over Burnley on Monday.  His fitness is being steadily managed by Spurs, but Mourinho's assistant head coach João Sacramento has confirmed the Real Madrid loanee will start the clash with Antwerp on Thursday. 

Bale ready for second start

"I can tell you that we will make some changes but like in every previous match, the changes don't mean that the team is weak," Sacramento told Spurs' official website ahead of the Group J clash. "We believe that with the squad that we have, even with rotation, the team will keep the level and the quality of play.  Tomorrow, Gareth Bale will start. Gareth is improving a lot – in terms of fitness level, his condition is much, much better, he's feeling better every day and with the interaction that we have with him, he's feeling very positive and we believe that soon he will be at his top level again." 

In his 66 minutes on the pitch against LASK, Bale had 44 touches and attempted 25 passes, finishing with a 72 per cent accuracy.  However, he failed to have a single effort on goal and did not create any chances. His replacement, Son Heung-min, scored Spurs' third and final goal, which came from one of his two on-target attempts.