London, Feb 28: Gareth Bale marked his return to a Premier League starting line-up with a brace in Tottenham's 4-0 thumping of Burnley.
Bale had only been named from kick-off twice in the top flight since re-joining Spurs from Real Madrid last September, but a goal in each leg of the Europa League win over Wolfsberger AC persuaded Jose Mourinho to give the Wales international a chance.
Tottenham's recent run of five defeats in their past six Premier League matches became a fast fading memory as Bale notched after 68 seconds and set up Harry Kane's second.
It was 3-0 after the half hour thanks to Lucas Moura, who kept Dele Alli on the bench despite the England midfielder's similarly impressive European form, and Bale's eighth goal of his second Tottenham spell came in the 55th minute.
Bale wasted little time in making the most of his selection by stealing in behind a sleeping Burnley defence to convert Son Heung-min's cross – Nick Pope having charitably stayed on his line.
There was fleeting defiance from the visitors, with Davinson Sanchez forced to make a last-ditch challenge on Jay Rodriguez.
Pope denied Lucas at close quarters before Bale was given time and space to send a raking ball into Kane's path in the 15th minute.
The England captain advanced infield from the left and rifled home an emphatic finish.
Any lingering doubt over the result was put to bed when Sergio Reguilon's cross clipped off James Tarkowski and Lucas pounced.
3-0 - For a second consecutive season, Spurs find themselves 3-0 ahead in the first half of their Premier League home game against Burnley. Repeats. pic.twitter.com/xSGXlvUxtL— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 28, 2021
Burnley's misery deepened nine minutes into the second half with Bale allowed room for a touch and a clinical finish after Son played the provider once more.
Lucas and Bale made way but Kane and Son remained a nuisance for the Clarets.
Pope pushed over a swerving drive from the England captain before getting down sharply to deny Son.