It appears the frequent questions about Gareth Bale are beginning to get on Jose Mourinho’s nerves.
Either that, or it was his side’s abject performance against Chelsea on Thursday which was enough to make him drop his guard.
The Tottenham boss watched on from the sidelines as his team produced a feeble display on their way to a 1-0 defeat to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
A first-half Jorginho penalty was enough to settle the scores, which was hardly surprising, given Spurs struggled to muster a decent attempt on goal until the 87th minute.
But even with Harry Kane out injured, Mourinho opted not to turn to superstar Bale for an injection of creativity, and fired off an angry response when questioned over the snub post-match.
When asked why he did not bring Bale on, Mourinho shot back at TV reporter Alison Bender: “Good question… but you don’t deserve an answer.”
Spurs could well have done with the Real Madrid loanee on the field, who would have done no worse than the tedious football served up by Mourinho’s men.
Without Kane Tottenham looked lost, like a ship without a sail, and even Son Heung-min was out of sorts on a night where they never seemed like equalising. At least not until it was too late.
Eric Dier’s clumsy foul on Timo Werner in the box gifted Chelsea the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot, which Jorginho duly grasped with both hands.
That was just 24 minutes in, but from that point there was only going to be one winner.
Tuchel has only been in his job less than a fortnight, but it was his team who looked further ahead in their development.
Chelsea are blessed with the immense strength in depth at their disposal, and Mourinho made sure all his excuses were heard.
“[Sergio] Reguilon means something for our attacking football. Harry Kane means something to our attacking football. Giovani Lo Celso means something and a good Dele Alli that we haven’t had yet also means something to that,” he said as he rattled off Tottenham’s injury list.
“It also is about not having the players to change things. It’s also about the confidence.”
That line in itself suggests Mourinho has little to no faith that Bale can come on and make the desired impact – on a night when Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela were preferred options off the bench.
Pressed on Bale’s contribution later, Mourinho back-tracked slightly: “I’m doing my best. He’s doing his best. Everybody is doing their best.”
But his answers weren’t fooling anyone. Rio Ferdinand had made his mind up at half-time.
“That Tottenham team and Jose, they’re lucky there are no fans in that stadium. They’d have been booed off,” Ferdinand told BT Sport .
“They were poor. There was no shape, zero press on the ball.
“The Spurs team are just sitting there and just relying on Son, an individual, to create one moment in the game.
“There’s no method, I’m not seeing any patterns of play in this game. It just seems like a team that doesn’t have any idea what they’re doing when they’ve got the ball.”
Jermaine Jenas added: “There is no plan, I think that’s the problem.
“I’m watching a group of players who look scared, who don’t want to get on the ball, and that’s one of the biggest crimes you can have as a footballer.”