Mon, 01 Mar 2021 - 06:45 GMT
LONDON (Reuters) - Gareth Bale produced his most impressive performance since returning on loan to Tottenham Hotspur with two goals in his side's 4-0 win over Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Welshman continued his recent resurgence by marking only his third league start of the season with the opening goal after only two minutes, prodding in from close range.
He then set up Harry Kane for Tottenham's second after 15 minutes before Lucas Moura made it 3-0 before halftime.
Bale then claimed his second of the game with a clinical finish after 55 minutes as Tottenham returned to form in the league having lost five of their previous six games.
The impressive win left Tottenham in eighth spot with 39 points from 25 games and revived their hopes of finishing in the top four. Burnley are 15th with 28 points.
Bale's lack of Premier League game time has been something of an anti-climax after the club's former talisman returned on loan from Real Madrid in September having left in 2013.
But the four-time Champions League winner is finally beginning to show the kind of form that persuaded the Spanish giants to sign him for 100 million euros ($120.74 million).
He has now scored four times in his last four appearances in all competitions and although he did not register in the loss by West Ham United last week, he was eye-catching as a second-half substitute.
Looking fit and sharp, Bale linked up superbly with Kane and Son Heung-min as manager Jose Mourinho unleashed the trio together, albeit against a Burnley side who were there for the taking.
"It's not just about scoring. It's about our all-round play and helping the team. I'm delighted with the goals and the assist and whatever I can do for the team," Bale said.
"I've been happy all season. In the dressing room I feel comfortable and I'm having fun. I'm happy and I'm sure it's showing on the pitch."
A flowing Tottenham move after two minutes ended with Bale ghosting on to Son's astute pass to touch past Nick Pope.
Bale then spotted the run of Kane with a sublime diagonal ball and the England captain's shot deflected past Pope for his 14th Premier League goal of the season.
It was all too easy for Tottenham and Moura made it 3-0 when Sergio Reguilon's ball into the box was only half cleared and the Brazilian fired past Pope.
Tottenham's tempo dropped a little after the break but Bale capped a fine display with a cultured left-foot finish into the bottom corner from Son's feed.
It was Tottenham's biggest home league win since they thrashed Burnley 5-0 last season.
"Today was more important, because of course we need the victory," Mourinho said. "We needed three points. We needed three points even scoring the winning goal in minute 94, but of course winning the way we did it is even better."
Burnley have a five-point cushion above the relegation zone but manager Sean Dyche said they must do better.
"When you are not quite on it, good sides find you out. But we have to make sure it doesn't happen very often. We gave it away too much," he said.