Spurs star Dele Alli said he is his own biggest critic after ending a run of poor form by recording two goals and three assists in three top-flight games against Burnley, Southampton and Swansea, according to a report in the Squawka.
Alli’s strike against Southampton on Boxing Day ended a 10-game goalless streak.
The England international, 21, had been the subject of criticism as he struggled to reach his highest playing level; by this time last season, Alli had scored eight times in the Premier League.
After finally finding the back of the net following 10 goalless games against the Saints, Alli addressed suggestions his frustrations had led him to make rash challenges on Kevin de Bruyne and Charlie Taylor – both incidents which saw some call for his dismissal.
He stated that speaking to manager Mauricio Pochettino has taught him to not put himself under too much constant pressure and insists that the criticism does not affect him, reports the Mirror: “We speak a lot, the manager and myself, and my form is not really something I think about too much. But it’s always nice to prove people wrong.
“At 21 years of age, when you set your standards as high as I did the last two years, it’s not always the case that you’re going to be able to reach them all the time.
“Some people think if you’re not scoring or assisting you’re playing badly, but I think I criticise myself all the time, even [after scoring v Southampton] I think I can do better, I can do more for the team, so I think it’s just working on myself and my own game.”
Alli added: “As players we’re not too worried about what people are saying, as long as the people close to you, around you and your teammates are speaking highly and you’re doing what the team want, that’s all you need to think about.
“People’s opinions are changing all the time and I think you’d be more worried if the other fans like you as a player. When your own fans start disliking you then it changes and you think about it a bit more.”
The forward has gained a reputation on account of his disciplinary record.
He has already received a European ban, a retrospective ban domestically for punching West Brom midfielder Claudio Yacob in the league, as well as a suspension while on England duty over a middle-finger gesture made on the pitch, thought to be directed to the referee.
Alli had been booked three times in the first half of the season, twice for tackles and once for diving though has yet to see red.
Alli has highlighted himself as a marked man for referees, though he insists that his tackle on Burnley full-back Taylor was entirely accidental as both players were going for the ball.
He added: “People can say what they want. I think the tackle at Burnley you know we both went into it the same, the ref made a decision and that’s the way it is.
“These things happen in football, I think you’ve just got to focus on yourself every game and look at what you can improve every game and training session.”