Jose Mourinho uneasy with Arsenal coach role in Gareth Bale’s Wales workload

By Jonathan Veal, PA
·4-min read

Jose Mourinho is “not comfortable” that Gareth Bale’s time on the pitch with Wales during the upcoming international break will be partly managed by an Arsenal coach.

With Ryan Giggs not taking charge of Wales’ three games, coach Albert Stuivenberg, who is also on Mikel Arteta’s staff, will help assist Robert Page.

Bale is in the squad as he makes his way back from a knee injury, a recovery which has been carefully managed by Tottenham since he rejoined on loan in September.

Albert Stuivenberg, right, is on Arsenal's and Wales' coaching staff and will help manage the team in Ryan Giggs' absence
Albert Stuivenberg, right, is on Arsenal’s and Wales’ coaching staff and will help manage the team in Ryan Giggs’ absence (John Walton/PA)

Mourinho has suggested there could be a possible conflict of interest and hopes the work Spurs have done with Bale over the last few weeks is not destroyed.

“It’s not Giggs responsible for these matches and I’m sorry about it,” Mourinho said. “Because for the previous fixtures he called me, we spoke about Ben Davies – not Gareth because Gareth was not there – and we shared opinions on the situation, which is probably not going to happen this time.

“And the fact that one of the coaches is an Arsenal coach does not make me very comfortable. Honestly, it doesn’t make me very comfortable. National team matches should have coaches that work exclusively for them, not coaches who work for other clubs.

“He’s getting better and better and I felt he could play 90 minutes (in Bulgaria).

“But it’s not about can or cannot, it’s about managing the situation and keeping him safe. Because he’s a player that needs to be safe, he’s a player that had enough problems in the past.

“He’s working so much and we’re all working so carefully with him that we don’t want to destroy the work everybody is doing for the last couple of months.”

Arsenal did not want to respond to Mourinho’s comments when contacted by the PA news agency.

Wales face the United States in a friendly on Thursday before Nations League matches with the Republic Of Ireland and Finland.

Mourinho has no issue with his players playing competitive matches, but hopes Bale is looked after.

“Wales has two matches where they play for the Nations League and I expect him to play,” Mourinho added. “But if they care as much about him as we do, they have to manage the recovery period.

“They have to manage how many days’ difference between one match and another. They have to manage the minutes that he plays and they should not let him get to fatigue levels.”

Bale played another 65 minutes for Spurs in their Europa League win over Ludogorets on Thursday and will be in contention to play at West Brom at the weekend.

It is a midday kick-off on Sunday, meaning it is the shortest possible turnaround for Mourinho’s side, who did not arrive home from Bulgaria until the early hours of Friday morning.

With Manchester United playing on Saturday lunchtime after a midweek trip to Turkey, Mourinho has called for more consideration for the scheduling of teams in Europe.

“If I’m not wrong, United or Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) were also complaining about playing Saturday early kick-off after a match in Turkey.

“It’s something that happens for many years in the Premier League, where the clubs involved in European competitions are not protected.

“But we get big salaries and of course the broadcasters have big responsibility for the big salaries we all get.

“So they have the right to choose but if they could be a little bit more careful about the English teams in Europe, it would be good. In other countries, they do that. But that’s the way it is.”

Spurs head to the Hawthorns with Sergio Reguilon back in the fold after he overcame illness.

“The good thing is I don’t think we have injuries from the match and Reguilon trained Thursday morning at the training ground so normally Friday he will be fine.”