Matt Doherty has admitted that he hit a major low point last season when Jose Mourinho left him out of the matchday squad after he travelled with the team to Aston Villa.
Doherty had a season to forget under Jose Mourinho last time out following his move from Wolves in the summer of 2020 and it was more of the same for the right-back under Nuno Espirito Santo at the start of this season.
After playing second fiddle to Emerson Royal in Antonio Conte’s first few months in charge, he has now battled to establish himself as a regular in the starting eleven.
The 30-year-old has demonstrated his attacking quality from the right wing-back role that was a feature of his game at Wolves and has been praised by Conte for the improvement he has shown (Football.London).
Doherty started at left wing-back against Newcastle on Sunday following an injury to Sergio Reguilon, and he put in another flawless display, getting a goal and an assist as the Lilywhites emerged 5-1 winners.
The right-back has now opened up on one particularly low point last season when he was left out of the matchday squad by Mourinho.
Doherty said (via The Daily Express): “We’d played Arsenal, lost 2-1 and I didn’t have a good game. Then we played Aston Villa away.
“There were nine subs last season and 21 of us travelled – and that was the time when the manager left people out and brought some kids on the bench.
“I wasn’t even on the bench. And it was Covid time and you weren’t allowed into the dressing room if not in the squad. I was sat on the bus on my own.
“Genuinely – because it was international break straight after – I was so close to getting the car and going to Manchester.
“I’m glad I didn’t. It’s not professional to do that. In your head, you’re on the bus and thinking, ‘What’s the point watching the game, I might as well go’. Obviously, he was trying to prove a point to everybody, not just for me, but that was not fun.”
Doherty admitted that he is over the moon with how things are going for him at Spurs.
He said about his current form: “I feel I’ve gained [Conte’s] trust and I’m able to repay him. I’m really happy how things are going.
“You can imagine with a full pre-season what kind of shape and what kind of state of mind we might be in [next season]. That’s exciting. We’ve all realised what an unbelievable coach he is. I feel like we’re all improving. And we don’t want it to end.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Doherty’s improvement over the last couple of months demonstrates how important a factor confidence is for footballers to perform at their best. Players will naturally have a fear of failure if their opportunities are few and far between. They can only be judged fairly when they have a run of starts under their belt.
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