Gareth Bale’s stop-start return to Tottenham has stalled again after the on-loan Real Madrid winger was ruled out for a “few weeks”.

Bale sustained a calf problem during the EFL Cup quarter-final win at Stoke City on December 23, failing to emerge for the second half, and played no part in the 1-1 draw at Wolves four days later.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho has now confirmed the Wales international, who has made just one Premier League start following his much-heralded return to north London, is set for a frustrating spell on the sidelines.

“I wouldn’t say [Bale’s injury] is serious but I’d say a few weeks,” said Mourinho, whose team host Fulham on Wednesday.

Giovani Lo Celso, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius will also miss the clash with Scott Parker’s strugglers, meaning Tanguy Ndombele is set to continue his resurgence in the Spurs midfield.

The France international scored a first-minute opener at Molineux and impressed with the kind of all-round performance that appears to have won Mourinho over.

Ndombele has yet to complete a full 90 minutes in his 11 Premier League starts, however, and the Portuguese is looking for improvement in that area.

Mourinho added: “We are happy [with him]. Apart from a couple of matches where his performances were not good, overall there was a big evolution.

“I believe to play at Premier League intensity, and to last for 90 minutes, is of course another step in the direction of his fitness.

“But he’s a player who is playing very well and is giving some good things to the team.

“There are players that naturally have different qualities than others. Some players are very physical, some are very intense. Others are more explosive but they don’t last for 90 minutes. Or they have difficulties lasting 90 minutes.

“In his case, he’s adapting to a league that is not new, new, new for him but let’s not forget last season where he didn’t play much and he had lots of injuries.

“And this season I believe to play at this intensity and to give the team what it needs with and without the ball, it’s not easy for him to last 90 minutes.”

Spurs have slipped to seventh in the Premier League table after failing to win any of their last four games.