Toby Alderweireld has heaped praise on Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho, who he feels is a victim of his own incredible success.
Mourinho was a controversial choice to replace Mauricio Pochettino at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Portuguese tactician had a history of success but was known for using defensive tactics and a safety-first approach.
Opinion was divided on whether he was the right fit for Spurs, with the club’s tradition of playing attacking football. But 13 months on, the former Chelsea chief has guided the north Londoners into the top four of the Premier league.
They currently sit third but can move above Everton and to within three points of table-topping Liverpool on Sunday.
Standing in their way are fourth-placed Leicester who, like Spurs, are looking to bounce back from defeat last time out.
It has the makings of a classic contest, with the Foxes also harbouring ambitions of a run for the title.
Alderweireld feels Tottenham’s rise is down to the boss and believes he is not appreciated as much as he should be.
“He doesn’t get the recognition he deserves because he’s such an unbelievable manager,” he told beIN SPORTS. “You can see the team and how it’s changed us; the way we play football, the way we win games. I’m grateful to work under him.”
Alderweireld hails no-nonsense style
Spurs have conceded just 12 goals from 13 top-flight outings this term. That is not surprising given Mourinho’s defensive knowledge and ability to get his message across to the players.
And, far from the negativity that many predicted, Alderweireld insists the players love the way they now operate.
“You can see the team and how it’s changed us; the way we play football, the way we win games. I’m grateful to work under him,” he added. “I only have very, very positive things to say about him. And I think you can see the team loves to play under him.”
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid coach can be a controversial figures at times. He has been criticised for attacking his players in public in the past but seems more laid-back at Spurs.
It is a style that Alderweireld enjoys and the defender is adamant his game has improved as a result.
“He gives me the confidence to play my game,” added the Belgian. “If he doesn’t talk to me I know I’m playing well so that says enough.”
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