Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has insisted that record signing Tanguy Ndombele deserves credit for his turnaround following a bright start to the 2020/21 season, using him as an example for Dele Alli.
The Frenchman's indifferent debut campaign in the Premier League saw reports emerge of a potential swift exit from N17 in the summer, with his manager holding doubts regarding his fitness and attitude.
Chairman Daniel Levy, however, was keen for Ndombele to remain at Spurs ahead of 2020/21 and is said to have provided a lot of support for the 24-year-old as he continues to acclimatise to a foreign environment.
And while Mourinho certainly held reservations about whether Ndombele could initiate resurgence during his second season at the club, it appears the penny's finally dropped regarding the maverick midfielder.
"I’m very happy [with him]," Mourinho said (via the Evening Standard) ahead of Spurs' clash with Newcastle on Sunday.
Ndombele started two games on the spin for the first time in 2020 over the past week; playing a key role in his side's equaliser at Southampton with a magical sequence on the halfway line before dominating the second half of their Europa League qualifier against Shkendija on Thursday.
"I say all the time, when a player improves it’s a player’s responsibility, it’s the player’s credit. It’s not the coach who makes the miracle. The player that does that by himself, to understand what he has to understand and go in the right direction that he has to go. Tanguy, step by step, is doing very well.
"I didn't talk to Tanguy," Mourinho added. "I just think that he felt the direction which it was going was not the right one and it’s something that players with me, they feel all of the time that I don’t give positions for free.
"He [Ndombele] went in a good direction."
Asked if he wants to see similar efforts from the likes of Alli and other squad players, Mourinho said: "Yes, that’s what I want. I don’t want players to moan, I don’t want players to be feel frustrated, I don’t want players to feel that I have something against them when I don’t pick them up.
"I want players to fight for the minutes that they want to be on the pitch and when you play for Tottenham, you have to understand that Tottenham wants to be better and better and the rewards are going to be better and better and the players cannot have a comfortable position on the pitch. They have to be ready to fight for the minutes they want to be on the pitch."