Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko no longer the 'scapegoat' - Ben Davies

Tottenham left-back Ben Davies has said midfielder Moussa Sissoko is showing his importance to the side after being a "scapegoat" for poor performances during his first two seasons at the club.

Sissoko has often been a figure of fun among Spurs supporters, having taken a long time to make an impact following his £30 million move from Newcastle in 2016.

But the France international has gone from strength to strength this campaign, starting the last six Premier League matches -- five of which Tottenham have won -- and playing a vital role in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Chelsea.

"I thought he was excellent again," Davies said. "He's really showing the quality he's got, but we never had any doubts about what he can bring to this team.

"He got a bit of flak, sometimes perhaps unfairly, and he became a bit of a scapegoat when we didn't perform at our best. But I thought on Saturday, and this season, he's been excellent for us so we're delighted for him.

"Did the criticism get to him? Possibly, it's tough to say. It's hard to get in players' heads and see what they're thinking at the time. If you get told you're not playing well it's going to get in your head, but if you can come back and turn it around from that, you can do anything.

"He's really shown his importance to this team. He's an incredibly hard worker and that's what we've got throughout this team."

Dele Alli was also a key figure on Saturday, having diligently man-marked Jorginho and limited his influence as well as scoring the opening goal.

"He [Jorginho] has really made Chelsea tick this year," Davies said. "When he gets on the ball and plays one or two touches, he's a very good player.

"But when you're against someone like Dele, who is always hounding you and putting the effort in on the defensive side as well, you can see the space it created for Sonny [Son Heung-Min] and Harry [Kane] as soon as we won it back.

"I watched [Chelsea's goalless draw against Everton] but it wasn't something we overly thought of -- seeing how Everton played. The manager set the team out on Friday and told us how he wanted us to play. A lot of credit has to go to him for the way he set us up -- it really nullified their threat.

"We had a game plan and it worked perfectly. We think the boys up top could have scored five or six, and on another day the chances we had could easily have gone in."

Tottenham's previous four top-flight victories had all been single-goal wins against bottom-half teams -- Cardiff, West Ham, Wolves and Crystal Palace. But they have developed a habit of clicking into top gear around the start of December under Pochettino.

"We hope so," Davies said when asked whether the win over Chelsea is a sign that they are now doing so again. "We feel confident as a team to be able to do it again.

"It gives you a lot of confidence beating a good side like Chelsea, especially as that was their first defeat this year."