Villarreal striker Roberto Soldado says his former club Tottenham Hotspur have developed into a "fantastic" team under Mauricio Pochettino, and has has been especially impressed with Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
Soldado, 30, joined Spurs from Valencia for £26 million in 2013 as part of the 'Magnificent Seven' signed with the windfall from Gareth Bale's world-record £85.5 million transfer to Real Madrid.
Despite scoring 81 goals in 141 games for Los Che -- a better goals-to-game ratio than David Villa -- Soldado struggled to adapt to the Premier League and he returned to Spain with Villarreal in August after losing his starting spot to Kane last season.
The striker revealed he still watches Spurs matches and has been impressed by Mauricio Pochettino's title-challengers, who are second in the league but seven points behind leaders Leicester City after dropping points against West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
"It's been a fantastic season [for Tottenham]," Soldado told The Guardian. "You could see last year that Tottenham were a very young team that could reach a high level once they added a little experience.
"I used to watch Harry Kane train. You'd think: 'What he lacks will come'; his finishing stood out. Every chance ended in the net last season and this year that's been multiplied by two. Maybe some people didn't see it coming, but he deserves it. He has a fantastic attitude, humble. You look at Dele Alli and, the truth is, we've all been surprised, coming from the lower divisions to play so well."
"After Gareth Bale was sold, Spurs invested in a lot of players -- I think eight arrived the summer I signed. This year there were fewer signings and they've benefited from that. The period of adaptation has passed and they've been left with a very solid team.
"You have to look at Mauricio Pochettino's excellent work, too. They've benefited from Chelsea and Manchester United's inconsistency, but what they've done is fantastic."
Soldado managed just three goals from open play, and seven in total, in over 50 league appearances for Tottenham, while his catalogue of missed chances was spectacular.
Despite his struggles, the Spaniard always retained the support of the Spurs fans, and he is "infuriated" that he was unable to repay their faith -- citing a number of "little things" for his failure in England.
"I think in the end what let me down at Tottenham was my head; for whatever reason, it wasn't right," he said. "Perhaps my transfer fee was too big, [or] maybe the expectations I put on myself put me over the edge in a sense. I found I was getting easy chances on the pitch and I'd miss them; the tiniest things would go against me."
"I was missing chances, things were going wrong, but no one could say I didn't work. That mattered to me and maybe it's why people treated me so well, despite everything. Even though I wasn't scoring, I'd go to warm up and they'd sing my song.
"I won't forget their support, but it infuriates you more because you get so much support and don't repay it.
"My family hadn't completely adapted either and when things aren't going perfectly for you professionally and you get home and the family aren't completely happy either, it's difficult.
"All these little things, it all mounts up and mounts up until you reach a point when you say: 'I can't do this any more.' So last summer, I said: 'I need a change,' because my head was like this."