MX23RW : Wednesday, December 19 08:17:42

Brighton's Knockaert says his 'problems are over' after battle with depression

The winger is set to make his 100th start for Albion on Saturday.

Brighton winger Anthony Knockaert believes he is starting to show his true talent in the Premier League following a battle with depression.

The 26-year-old admitted he was unable to perform in the top flight last season due to mental illness.

He received counselling for his problems, which followed the breakdown of his marriage and the death of his father.

Knockaert has contributed three assists in five games for Albion this term and feels his improved form is down to his rediscovered happiness.

"It's not even about assists or anything, it's just you can see on the pitch I'm myself again," he said.

"It's been the only time in the Premier League where I've consistently played well.

"I work hard, I don't scream for no reason, I'm just myself again and I think I deserve it because when you are going through stuff like this... I'm just so happy to see that again from myself.

"I think the holidays came at the perfect time. I needed to be away from everyone and just be with my friends, family and just to think about something else and I think I was in a good way because I was so far away.

"I went to a few places, just with my friends, talking about no football, just talking about life and they helped me a lot and I went away with my little boy as well so it was just perfect for me.

"I came back here and I was just so focused and ready to go – I was like, 'It's a new season, go and show everyone who you are'.

"My problems are over and I'm a happy man again."

Knockaert is set to make his 100th start for the Seagulls when Tottenham visit the Amex Stadium for Saturday's late kick-off.

Spurs approach the game having lost three successive games for the first time under manager Mauricio Pochettino following the midweek Champions League defeat at Inter Milan.

Creative Frenchman Knockaert hopes Albion can capitalise on their opponents' recent struggles.

"I wouldn't say it's the best time to play them, but they're going through a difficult period," he said.

"We're going to be at home in front of our fans, so you never know what can happen. We showed it against Manchester United in both of the home games against them (1-0 and 3-2 wins).

"We're going to be straight on the front foot, ready to go, and I hope that with the support from the fans we can get a result."

Seagulls manager Chris Hughton remains without German midfielder Pascal Gross due to an ankle injury.

Winger Jose Izquierdo and forward Florin Andone are in contention to make their first appearances of the season after returning to fitness.


Click here for more stories about Tottenham Hotspur

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Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton pictured on July 14, 2018
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