Spurs’ record signing seemed set for the exit door when Mourinho arrived at the club after struggling to adapt to the Premier League, with the Portuguese regularly criticising the midfielder’s hunger and fitness.
But this season has seen the 24-year-old come to the fore as a key player in Mourinho’s side and his strike at Bramall Lane will be long remembered as he produced an audacious flick over the goalkeeper’s head when running away from goal.
Boss Chris Wilder knew his side would have to start well, so was left pulling his hair out when they conceded within five minutes.
“The timing and manner of the goals really all afternoon hurt us,” he said.
“I really fancied us and we did as a football club. We got paid a compliment with the way they set up and you could see, led by the manager, that they thought this was going to be a tough afternoon.
“Apart from the last 10 minutes, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion. The goals really, at any level… after Tuesday night, the first thing we needed was to have a bright start and get a foothold in the game and we didn’t.
“You could see the attitude of their players when they got the first goal. It gave them a huge boost and it deflated us.”