Tanguy Ndombele says he was neither hurt nor motivated by Jose Mourinho’s public criticism of him after he was hauled off in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Burnley last season.
The Frenchman became Spurs’ record signing when he joined from Lyon for £54m in July 2019 but struggled for consistency and received some harsh words from his manager following a lacklustre 45 minutes at Turf Moor in March, with Mourinho stating “I hope next season he can be fantastic because until now it is not enough.”
Ndombele has made an impressive start to the new campaign, however, playing in all six of Tottenham’s Premier League games, including Monday night’s 1-0 win at Burnley.
When asked about Mourinho’s comments after last season’s game at Burnley, Ndombele told Sky Sports News: “His words didn’t hurt me. They didn’t necessarily motivate me either.
“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.”
The 23-year-old also feels he has a lot more still to offer, adding: “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.”
Ndombele believes his form has also been boosted by a consistent run in the side and also admitted it took him time to adjust from Ligue 1 to the Premier League.
“I feel better. That comes from playing consecutive matches,” said Ndombele. “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.”
Ndombele also refused to rule Spurs out as surprise title contenders in an already unpredictable season, but urged caution in getting carried away with the notion just yet.
“Our objective has always been to get into the top four,” he added. “More than that? Why not? But nobody wins the league in six matches.
“Even if we were top of the league at this stage there’d still be 32 matches to play.”