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Gareth Bale’s Real Madrid exit admission as he discusses new beginning at Spurs

Gareth Bale admits he’s still a bit ring rusty after spending so much time on the sidelines at Real Madrid.

But the four-time Champions League winner isn’t too concerned — he’s just thrilled to have a manager who’s willing to start him in Jose Mourinho, unlike his old boss Zinedine Zidane.

The Welshman was consigned to the substitutes' bench at the Bernabeu following Project Restart as his strained relationship with Zidane, and Madrid, neared its, albeit temporary, conclusion.

That led to his move back to north London and, after recovering from injury, Bale made his second full debut for Spurs on Thursday, 13 years after his first, in the 3-0 Europa League group stage victory over Austrian side LASK.

Laughing, he said: “It’s great to be back, especially starting a game. It has been a while for me, at club level.

“It’s going to take me a little bit of time to get my match fitness and sharpness going.

“It’s just another game towards the process of getting fitter, sharper, quicker.

“I just enjoyed being out there playing football — that’s what makes me happy.

“It was a professional performance.

“These games can be difficult, if you don’t take them seriously, but we took it very seriously.”

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Bale has settled right back in at his old club after joining on a season-long loan last month and has been impressed with the quality in Tottenham's squad.

The 31-year-old said: “We definitely have a lot of strength in depth and a lot of great players but we’re in a lot of competitions.

“It’s one of those strange seasons when there hasn’t been much preparation beforehand — and we’re going to need everyone throughout the whole season.

“But it’s a great squad to be in, with, as I said, a lot of strength in depth and great players.

“Hopefully, we will keep pushing each other on and we can achieve what we want.”

Team-mate Lucas Moura is adamant there is enough quality in the Spurs squad for them to finally win some silverware this season.

He said: “We are building a very good squad with a good mentality — let’s build it step by step and do our best, and I’m sure we can win a trophy.

“We need a good squad because we have a lot of games to play and the competition between us is very high.

“But that’s good for the team, good for the club and, like I said, we need everyone, we don’t have too much much time to rest between the games so with everyone ready, when we have a chance we need to enjoy it like we did on Thursday.”

Significantly, Thursday’s victory saw Spurs keep their first clean sheet of the season.

Moura, whose side take on Burnley on Monday, added: “We know that last season we conceded a lot of goals and this season as well at the beginning, so it’s important for the first clean sheet of the season.

“We need to keep going this way, we need to keep solid behind the ball, we can’t give opponents any space.”

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