Tanguy Ndombele has insisted he was not hurt by Jose Mourinho's criticism and that Tottenham have not seen the best of him yet.
Spurs forked out a club-record fee of £54 million ($70m) to bring Ndombele to north London from Lyon in the summer of 2019.
The Frenchman arrived at Tottenham with a sterling reputation as an all-action midfielder capable of performing at the very highest level, but failed to live up to those high standards during his first season in the Premier League.
He found himself in and out of Mourinho's line-up after the Portuguese was drafted in to replace Mauricio Pochettino in November, with his fitness levels considered to be sub-optimal.
Mourinho addressed Ndombele's erratic form after hauling off at half-time during a 1-1 draw away at Burnley in March, telling reporters: "I hope next season he can be fantastic because until now it is not enough."
The former Lyon star was linked with a move away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the last transfer window, but he ended up staying put, and has managed to gain Mourinho's trust in the early stages of the 2020-21 campaign.
Ndombele has started all six of Spurs' Premier League games, helping them rise to fifth in the standings, and is now eager to put one of the most testing periods of his career behind him.
Asked if his relationship with Mourinho affected his performances last term, the 23-year-old told Sky Sports: "His words didn't hurt me. They didn't necessarily motivate me either.
"It was just something that I assimilated and took on board. Of course, it's not something that you like to hear, those sort of words, but that was last season and we are looking to the future."
Ndombele also promised that he will continue to improve as he benefits from an extended run in the team, having finally adjusted to the rigourous demands of Premier League football.
"I don't think we have seen the best of Tanguy Ndombele yet. I'm on the right track but there's still more to come," he said.
"I feel better. That comes from playing consecutive matches. It's good for a player to have a good rhythm like that and get into shape.
"Last year I didn't have that so much. This year I do so it's better for the team and it's better for me.
"Between France and England, there's a real difference in the intensity of the matches. Last season my head just wasn't in the right place. This season it's going a lot better."
Ndombele added on Tottenham's chances of challenging for the title: "Our objective has always been to get into the top four. More than that? Why not? But nobody wins the league in six matches.
"Even if we were top of the league at this stage there'd still be 32 matches to play."