Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Harry Winks has admitted that he has had to make some adjustments to his game in order to please Jose Mourinho.
Winks initially found himself out of the side when Mourinho first arrived at the club but the 24-year-old managed to fight his way back into the team.
The England star admitted that the Spurs boss pulled him aside to make it clear what he expected of him.
Speaking to The Guardian, Winks said: “From the beginning, I was in and out. The manager told me what he believed I needed to do. I’ve upped my training levels a bit and since then I have had a lot more minutes.
“It was just an honest conversation, which I respect massively. I just think it was my whole level and the intensity as well. I said to the manager that I agree. It is something I went back and did.”
While the Lilywhites’ results have improved since the Portuguese coach arrived at the club but their defensive problems have persisted.
Winks, who captained Spurs for the first time at senior level for yesterday’s defeat to Wolves admitted that the team needed to improve defensively but insisted that the players had been given the freedom to attack by the Spurs head coach.
He said: “He prefers defensive shape and being organised. That is something we needed to improve on anyway because we were shipping too many goals.
“He definitely appreciates what everyone’s qualities are. He has said it many times: he wants us to keep the ball, he wants us to create chances and he wants us to build from the back when it is the right time.
“We are still in the early phases of working out what the strategy is and what the tactics are.”
Mourinho has chosen to employ Winks as a midfield anchor in recent weeks and the midfielder brushed aside suggestions that he didn’t have the physique to cope in the role.
The Spurs star added: “The manager will have his structure and his style of play but that is not to say that just because we have the physique of someone shorter we can’t do what he likes.
“When we play Man City, De Bruyne is very good at getting into the pockets behind full-backs and it was my role to track that area,” Winks says. “In another game it might be to be more front foot and aggressive in the pressing.
“Defensively, my role is a lot more important and I can totally agree that I needed to improve on that. I think I’ve done so under the new manager. I feel like when I’m playing now, I am more of a leader than I was one or two years ago.”
Spurs Web Opinion
With the deep-lying playmaker role becoming increasingly important in modern day football, Winks is invaluable to us. The midfielder receives his fair share of criticism due to his inconsistency but if he can iron out the rough edges from his game, there is no doubt that he is a gem of a player.
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