Tottenham and Belgium midfielder Mousa Dembele has praised the intensity of new manager Mauricio Pochettino's training sessions and is looking forward to the future at White Hart Lane.
Along with fellow Belgium players Jan Vertonghen and Nacer Chadli, as well as Brazilian Paulinho, Dembele returned late to pre-season and missed the opening day win at West Ham. The quartet are eager to make up for lost time.
“It’s been very good and although the training sessions are hard, we feel already that we have become more and more fit and that’s very good for us,” the ex-Fulham man said.
“When we came back the other players were already very fit but for us we want to get there very quickly – especially now the season has already started.
“As a player you want to play every game, but the season is long and with the Europa League we have a lot of games so there’s a lot to look forward to in the future.”
Dembele's future was not completely clear, and with Pochettino needing to cut down the size of his squad before he can make additions, the Wilrijk-born player had question marks hanging over his head.
Add to this Tottenham's pursuit of Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin and Pochettino's midfield would become severely bloated.
First XI tussle
Dembele, having struggled to fully recover from a recurrent hip injury, has failed to nail down a starting position, and despite possessing great ability and change of direction in one-on-one situations, his tendency to hold on to the ball slows the team down, and his goals tally in a Lilywhite shirt has been poor - four goals in 84 appearances.
However, with a new manager, new training regime, and a new opportunity, Dembele and Spurs fans will hope the midfielder regains his best form. It would at least soften the blow from missing out his replacement.