Tottenham Hotspur's Nabil Bentaleb should take heart from Jose Mourinho's praise of him after the League Cup final yesterday.
Spurs lost 2-0 to Chelsea at Wembley in what was a disappointing afternoon for the Lilywhites, but Bentaleb's ever increasing reputation was highlighted by Mourinho's comments after the match.
"When you are going from the first minute to reach [Ryan] Mason and Bentaleb in their half, so they cannot build from the back, it’s not cautious," Mourinho said of Chelsea's approach after the match on their official site.
Bentaleb and Mason have been Tottenham's first choice midfield axis this season, with both the academy graduates emerging as crucial stars for the side.
It is the Algerian who is starting to really show his class at the moment, though, and his performance yesterday was arguably the finest of anyone in a Spurs shirt.
The 20-year-old was integral to Tottenham's good play and even though he was given special attention by Mourinho's tactics, he still managed to stand out.
Bentaleb was constantly an option for his teammates, whilst his passing was accurate and incisive.
It was the sort of the display which Bentaleb has been putting in on a consistent basis this campaign, where he has made notable improvements in a number of areas.
Bentaleb was impressive last season, but he has continued to improve this time around, with the stats showing that Pochettino has helped him become more influential on the game.
|Season||Passes per game||Passing Accuracy||Tackles per game||Interceptions per game||Defensive duels won per game||Chances created per game||Shots per game||Touches per game||Appearances||Mins Played|
The youngster now has more touches on the ball, completes more passes and looks to be more ambitious when in possession and if he can continue to improve at this rate he will become one of the leading players in the Premier League.
His performance yesterday showed just how classy an operator he has developed into and with Mourinho already devising a system designed to stop Bentaleb having an impact, it is clear to see how highly he is rated across the division.
Mourinho is one of the finest tacticians in world football and for the Portuguese boss to suggest that Bentaleb was one of the players that his side needed to stop should serve as a huge confidence boost for the central midfielder.
Bentaleb, like the rest of his Tottenham teammates, will understandably be disappointed with the result, but he should reflect on these comments and realise just how impressive he has been this season.