It’s ‘we go’, not ego, for Nuno’s Tottenham Hotspur
Son speaks of togetherness under new boss, following Mourinho's incendiary reign
Togetherness is Tottenham Hotspur's mantra under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo, according to his charges Son Heung-min and Ben Davies.
The Portuguese took over in June, becoming the permanent successor to compatriot Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in April amid flagging fortunes on the pitch and widespread reports that his relationship with several players had deteriorated.
During his 17-month tenure in north London, Mourinho publicly chastised players such as Tanguy Ndombele, Gareth Bale and Dele Alli as well as his team in general when things went wrong.
Amid that backdrop, perhaps it is no surprise that Nuno has emphasised togetherness since taking over, something both Son and Davies highlighted during a session with Singaporean media arranged by club sponsor AIA.
The pair, along with teammates Joe Rodon and and Oliver Skipp, yesterday took part in an AIA Live in Singapore virtual event where they did football drills and took questions on managing mental health.
On his new manager, Wales defender Davies, 28, said: "He really wants us as a group to be very close and very together and he brought a lot of this feeling with him.
"We've done some stuff away from football just making sure that we're together as a team and I think so far we've shown that... on the pitch."
South Korean star Son agreed, noting that there has been a "massive" change on that front.
Said the 29-year-old attacker: "We worked really hard in pre-season and obviously on tactics, but I think that togetherness is one of the main things that you want to improve.
"Looks like we're working together, we're winning together, we lose together, we have the same emotions, so I think that's a change, massively."
Spurs, who played Dutch side Vitesse in the Europa Conference League this morning (Singapore time), have since recovered from three straight English Premier League losses to record back-to-back wins against Aston Villa and Newcastle United.
They are fifth in the standings on 15 points, four behind leaders Chelsea.
Son, who is Spurs' top EPL scorer this season with four goals from seven matches, highlighted after the 2-1 win over Villa that the team are now "playing without fear" and "enjoy it even when we lose the ball".
He said that was in evidence again in Sunday's 3-2 comeback win over the Magpies, noting: "I think we showed the best example on the weekend, because we were 1-0 down after two minutes and we showed great character (in) coming back.
"I think the togetherness and the sacrifice we showed on the pitch, that's all I want to say...
"Even (when) we are 1-0 down, you could see we are enjoying the football. We're coming back, we're winning games. So I think this was really important...
"When we were playing with the ball, we were enjoying. But, most times without the ball, we were enjoying as well.
"I think the most important thing for him (Nuno) is togetherness. We're attacking together from the kick-off, we're defending together from the strikers. So that's what I think he wants."
What Son wants on Sunday is not to disappoint Spurs fans when they travel to West Ham United for a London Derby.
He said: "I think the derby always means something as a player as well, but (especially) as a fan. We don't want to disappoint the club, we don't want to disappoint ourselves and we don't want to disappoint the fans."
Davies, meanwhile, was wary of the Hammers, who are just a point adrift of Spurs in seventh.
He said: "We're going to have to be ready, we're going to have to prepare perfectly because they're playing well at the moment. So we know it's going to be a big challenge."