The all-action midfielder netted five league goals on the way to securing January’s prestigious divisional prize, all of which have proven crucial to our latest unbeaten streak.
He started off with a brace in our 4-1 win at Watford on New Year’s Day and repeated the trick 72 hours later to hand us an excellent 2-0 triumph over league leaders Chelsea.
Subsequently kick-starting our comeback at Manchester City on January 21, when we hauled ourselves back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at the Etihad, in addition to grabbing a goal off the bench in the dramatic 4-3 FA Cup fourth round win at home to Wycombe Wanderers the following week, Dele has certainly made an impact.
Yet he insists it’s been a team effort.
“It’s the first one I’ve won and it’s a real honour,” smiled Dele as he proudly clutched his award. “I think the whole team played brilliantly last month, we really played well as a team and we just clicked really well so it’s an honour to win this.
“Now we’re coming to the final parts of the season so it’s important that we go into it strong as a team, play well, win games and pick up as many points as we can.”
Dele enjoyed particular success in front of goal with our three-at-the-back formation in January, but the England international says he’s happy with whichever tactics Mauricio Pochettino chooses to employ.
“We’ve got a great manager here, he’s really tactical so whenever he changes it you have a lot of trust in what he’s doing and you just go out there and play,” he said. “I’m happy to be out there, I’d play in any formation and any position for this team and I’m happy to help the team by getting some goals.”
What was your favourite goal or moment in January?
“I’d probably say the two goals against Chelsea, just because of how big the game was for us and for the fans as well. To score and win was a great feeling.”
How would you compare your form in January to your early-season endeavours?
“I’d probably say I’ve been more clinical. I still got a lot of chances earlier on in the season, I just wasn’t taking them but last month I think you can see I started putting them away a lot more so I’ve just got to keep it going.”
You’ve scored a few headers as well…
“Yes, it’s a surprise! I scored one when I was at MK Dons and then I came here and my first goal was actually a header against Leicester, I remember that. Some of the boys were making jokes and making fun of my heading skills in training and saying how bad it is so I’m happy that I could prove them wrong!”
How do you see the trip to Liverpool on Saturday?
“It’s not going to be easy. Any team going to Anfield knows it’s going to be a tough game but I think we’re more than capable of going there and coming back with the three points. We’re confident in ourselves and it’s important that we don’t worry about the occasion, just go there and play how we know we can. If we do that then I’m sure we’ll be alright.”