Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has admitted that he has been impressed with Dele Alli’s return to form after the midfielder starred during the club’s 4-0 win over RZ Pellets WAC in the Europa League on Wednesday night. The 24-year-old fired a spectacular overhead kick into the back of the net to give Spurs the lead within ten minutes, before creating two more goals to help his side claim an 8-1 aggregate victory over the Austrian outfit and progress to the competition’s round of 16 in style.
Mourinho, who has come under fire in recent weeks as a result of Tottenham’s poor run of Premier League form, still has the opportunity to bring silverware back to north London with Spurs still in with a shout of winning both the Europa League and Carabao Cup.
Alli’s heroics in midweek marked a welcome return to the limelight for the England midfielder after enduring a torrid spell under Mourinho since the beginning of the season.
He has struggled to hold down a spot in the side for much of the campaign, failing to live up to expectations on numerous occasions when called upon.
Another blow came in the form of a muscular injury which kept him out of action for a period of 18 days.
Mourinho told reporters in Friday’s press conference that Eric Dier had previously claimed the performance of the entire team needed to be successful in order to allow individual players to shine.
With regards to Alli, the charismatic Portuguese boss explained that he will find it easier to impress when his team-mates are playing well, as was the case on Wednesday with Spurs utterly dominant from the first whistle to the last.
“One of my players, Eric Dier, told me something like ‘individual performances are not very good when the collective performance is not good’,” said Mourinho.
“He’s right, that goes in both directions. So I agree with Eric and in relation to Dele, when you have players performing like he did, it’s easier for the team to play well and when the team plays well it’s easier for players to perform well individually.
“I’m happy with him. [He’s had a] difficult period. Sometimes small injuries in accumulation are more difficult than a big injury where after a few weeks or months you are back.
“Small injuries are mentally not good, players getting disappointed, lack of motivation, frustration. He went through all of that. He came back.
“We had good conversations, [he is] training well, playing minutes or part of matches. Not yet a 90 minute match, but he went through periods and basically now 75 or 80 minutes.
“[His] condition is also improving. His feelings after matches always is better.”
Alli could be in line to make a rare Premier League appearance on Sunday, with Tottenham preparing to welcome strugglers Burnley to north London as they look to revive their faint hopes of Champions League qualification with three much-needed points.
Mourinho continued, hinting at Alli’s involvement by claiming that he will be given more opportunities to impress, with Spurs facing a number of tough fixtures between now and the end of the season.
“We need him, we need them all and today in a long, long time, we didn’t have every player on the pitch,” he added.
“Of course, Gio [Lo Celso] is not ready to play football yet, but he’s training with the team and that is great news for us because we have so many matches.
“Now it is Sunday, and then Zagreb and then Palace and then Zagreb and Arsenal and [it] never stops so we need everybody, and in the particular case of Dele Alli, I’m very happy.”
Alli will be hoping to keep up the good work in order to stake his claim for a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad to take on Euro 2020 during the summer.