Jose Mourinho says Tottenham are still trying "step by step" to get the best out of Gareth Bale as he refuted suggestions that Spurs are considering terminating his loan deal.
Bale has played 12 times this season after returning from Real Madrid, but he has yet to appear for a full 90 minutes.
Six of the Welshman's eight Spurs starts this season have come in the Europa League, where he scored one of his three goals over the campaign against the Austrian side LASK Linz.
Bale has also netted against Brighton in the Premier League and Stoke in the League Cup, but Mourinho says it is his injuries which continue to hold him back.
"Of course you know that he arrived injured. And he was injured before, I believe, the first month," said the Spurs boss.
"And then, step by step, Europa League matches were helping him to get his condition. Premier League of course…
"Europa League group phase is a different level than the Premier League. The knock-out is a different story. But the group phase is a different intensity, a different rhythm, a different quality.
"So in the Premier League, he didn’t play many minutes. Then another small injury at Stoke where he was having a good first half. And now coming, not an easy process.
"Everybody knew that in the past couple of seasons, in Madrid, they were not easy for him. So let’s go, step by step, and try to get the best out of him."
There have been suggestions that Spurs players have been surprised by Bale's lack of action this season, and also that Tottenham are already considering ending his loan deal and sending him back to Real Madrid.
Mourinho says that isn't the case though.
"There was not even a second of discussion about that," he continued.
Gareth is a player on loan until the end of the season. Not one second of discussion.
"We are speaking about, of course, Gareth, himself, Real Madrid, Tottenham, but I promise you, not one second of discussion."
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