Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele admits he was left with mixed feelings after receiving harsh criticism from Jose Mourinho last season.
Spurs’ record signing arrived in north London last summer with a sizeable reputation on his shoulders. However, after a poor start, his problems continued when Mourinho took over.
Indeed, Frenchman Ndombele struggled to complete 90-minute stints in his debut campaign. Fitness issues plagued his progress but Mourinho became frustrated, ranting about the player in March.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Ndombele opened up on how he felt after hearing such outbursts.
“His words didn’t hurt me. They didn’t necessarily motivate me either,” the midfielder said. It was just something that I assimilated and took on board.
“Of course, it’s not something that you like to hear, those sort of words, but that was last season and we are looking to the future.”
Indeed, Ndombele has turned a corner this season and has played a crucial role for Spurs.
Mourinho has made a point of noticing such progression, hailing his “evolution” as a player. But the 23-year-old insisted that he still has untapped potential in his locker.
More to come from Ndombele
“I don’t think we have seen the best of Tanguy Ndombele yet. I’m on the right track but there’s still more to come,” he said.
“I feel better. That comes from playing consecutive matches. It’s good for a player to have a good rhythm like that and get into shape.
“Last year I didn’t have that so much. This year I do so it’s better for the team and it’s better for me.
“Between France and England, there’s a real difference in the intensity of the matches. Last season my head just wasn’t in the right place. “This season it’s going a lot better.”
Spurs face Antwerp in the Europa League on Thursday after a recent run of 20 goals in five matches.
Gareth Bale could feature, after Mourinho revealed the reasons for his absence in Monday’s win over Burnley.