Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks has paid tribute to the recently sacked manager, Mauricio Pochettino, saying he “owes everything” to the Argentine.
Spurs were expected to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the title this season after reaching the Champions League final this summer, but instead the club have gone backwards – struggling in mid-table and sitting just six points above the relegation zone.
The team have won just three league games with the club-wielding the axe on the popular figure on Tuesday evening.
The 23-year-old Winks has taken time to thank him for bringing him into the first team in 2016 and said his boss had helped develop him as a player.
‘I’ve said many times and I will always say it, I’ve got everything to thank the gaffer for,’ Winks said in an interview with TalkSport.
‘He gave me the opportunity and I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for him.
‘Of course I’ve had to work hard to get here, but getting that opportunity in the first place is always difficult and I’m forever thankful to the manager for giving me that opportunity.’
Spurs head to the London Stadium this weekend in a crucial game against rivals and fellow strugglers West Ham.
Speaking before his departure, Winks – who scored on his full Spurs debut against the Hammers – insisted the squad were not feeling pressure and were relishing getting back together after the international break to regroup and up their game for Pochettino.
He added: ‘The manager is always happy to have everybody back because we can train together as a team again.
‘When everybody goes away separately to their countries, it’s difficult to get the same amount of training in and work on the tactical issues we need to work on, so it will be good for the manager to get everybody back in now and build-up towards the West Ham game.
“Now I’m back at Tottenham I want to get back on the field with the lads, and prepare for the Premier League.” He told SportsMail.
The team might be underperforming in the Premier League, but on the European stage they have got their act together after a 7-2 home drubbing from Bayern Munich and now look on course to qualify for the knockouts.