Gareth Bale’s fitness is “improving a lot” as the Welshmanpreparesto make his second start of the seasonfor Tottenham in theEuropa League.

The 31-year-old has been eased back into first-team duties following his return to north London on a loan move from Real Madrid agreed in the summer transfer window.

He had previously been used off the bench againstWest Ham, coming on midway through the second half before Jose Mourinho’s side conceded a three-goal lead to draw 3-3.

However, Bale remained an unused substitute during Spurs’ 1-0 victory over Burnley on Monday, a result which helped the club climb up to fifth place in the Premier League standings with six games played so far in the 2020-21 season.

His fitness is being steadily managed by Spurs, but Mourinho’s assistant head coachJoao Sacramento has confirmed the Real Madrid loanee will start the clash with Antwerp on Thursday.

“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’sfeeling very positive and we believe that soon he will be at his top level again.”

In his 66minutes on the pitch against LASK, Bale had 44 touches and attempted 25 passes,finishing with a72 per cent accuracy.

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