MIDDLESBROUGH - Tottenham midfielder Son Heung-Min said he asked to leave in the summer but is now "very happy" after three consecutive man-of-the-match performances in the Premier League.
Son followed up his double in the 4-0 win at Stoke with a dazzling display against Sunderland and two more goals in the 2-1 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday.
The South Korea international started just 13 league games last season after joining from Bayer Leverkusen for £22 million, and Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said he had asked to return to Germany in the summer. "I wanted to ask... I wanted to play more. This is true," Son told reporters.
"Every player wants to play and the gaffer gave me a chance to play. I'm very thankful to him, and I'm very happy now. He was very truthful. I'm very happy to play here. The Premier League is the best league now."
Asked whether he had expected to leave Tottenham before the transfer deadline, Son said: "It's difficult to say. It's a difficult answer.
"I stayed here, I'm very happy I stayed here to play for Tottenham and score goals."
Son's form has helped Spurs make their best start to a top-flight season in 51 years. They are one of two unbeaten teams, along with next weekend's opponents Manchester City, after Everton lost at Bournemouth.
"It's special. We have a record for 50 years but this is just the start of the season and we want to keep this phase going," Son said. "We're just focused game to game."
Speaking after the win at Middlesbrough, Pochettino said: "He asked to leave after the Olympic Games but we decided he would stay with us. I didn't want him to go.
"You can see his reaction has been good. We try to give all the best to our players, but sometimes it is difficult. He struggled to settle, but he's working very hard and that is the most important thing.
"Not all players would be able to do that. I'm impressed with him as a man as well as a footballer. He's a very nice person and how he works is impressive. I never doubted his quality."
Son's teammate Moussa Sissoko, who played 70 minutes at the Riverside, added: "It was two great goals today. From the beginning of the season, he's done well.
"We need a player like that if we want to do well this season. He's on fire -- I hope he'll be like that for a long time."