Gareth Bale aimed a thinly-veiled dig at Jose Mourinho while talking up Tottenham's improvement under Ryan Mason.
Spurs moved up to fifth in the Premier League after thrashing Sheffield United 4-0 on Sunday, extending Mason's 100 per cent start in the competition since replacing Mourinho in the dugout on an interim basis.
Bale scored a sublime hat-trick after being handed a second successive top-flight start having previously been reduced to a bit-part role under Mourinho, and says he is relishing the freedom Mason is affording him in the final third.
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What's been said?
The Real Madrid loanee told Sky Sports after the Sheffield United victory: "It's the fact that we’re more on the front foot, we’re closer to the goal and you’re able to score more. We’re playing football the Tottenham way.”
Asked how he's holding up physically after another 75 minutes of action, Bale added: "I feel good, as I’ve said before I just needed to play games, to get a run of games and I’m doing that now.
“I’m happy and when I’m happy I normally play well. It was a great performance from the first whistle. I feel like we were on the font foot and we pressed well, got hold of the ball, played some good football. It’s always nice to get another (hat-trick) ball.
“You have to take your chances when they come, and I had a few tonight. Winning always makes everyone happy, it gives a winning mentality to the dressing room. That’s all we can do.”
Bale's record for Tottenham in 2020-21
Much was expected of Bale when he rejoined Spurs on loan from Real Madrid last summer, but Mourinho took a patient approach with the Welshman after his struggles for consistency at Santiago Bernabeu last season.
Bale didn't start playing regularly under Mourinho until after the new year, and sparkled into life by scoring braces against Burnley and Fulham in the Premier League, while also netting a double against Wolfsberger in the Europa League.
The 31-year-old's treble against Sheffield United saw him take his tally across all competitions to 14 goals from 30 games, and he has also managed to set up a further three for his team-mates.
Bale will likely retain his place in Mason's line up when Spurs travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United on Saturday. The Lilywhites are due to host Wolves eight days later as they continue to chase Champions League qualification, with Chelsea currently five points above them in fourth.