(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mousa Dembele is pleased to be earning praise from his manager but the Belgian says he wants to finish the season on a high and collect silverware.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino hailed Dembele a “genius” and compared his ability with the likes of Diego Maradona and Ronaldinho after his dominant performance secured a 2-2 draw at Juventus in the Champions League last 16 tie.
Ahead of the second leg at Wembley on Wednesday, Dembele, who last won a league title with Dutch side AZ Alkmaar almost 10 years ago, said he would like to finish his career with a few more winners’ medals.
“He (Pochettino) speaks a lot with me and gives me confidence. He’s mentioned these kinds of things to me in the past,” Dembele told British media.
“Obviously he’s been giving me confidence and it’s a good thing, but you always want to win something, so it doesn’t change my role.
“It’s a good feeling. Everybody likes to be appreciated. It’s a good feeling, but there’s so much to play for still.”
Dembele appeared to be limping after being substituted in their 2-0 league victory over Huddersfield Town on Saturday but said he was fine.
“I feel good, to be honest. I’ve played a lot of games, and automatically, if I play a lot of games, I feel fitter, much stronger, and good,” he added.
After seeing his team beat Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in Europe this season, the 30-year-old is confident they have enough firepower to cope with the Italian champions.
“The Champions League is a different type of tournament and anything can happen, and obviously we have a lot of confidence, against Juve and Real ... we’re not scared of them. The thing is now we have to keep focused,” Dembele said.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford