Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has paid tribute to Dele Alli following Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Barnsley in the third round of the EFL Cup.
Tottenham again struggled to find their best form at Wembley, but Alli’s second-half effort was enough to secure a spot in the fourth round of the League Cup.
Alli faced criticism following Tottenham’s goalless draw with Swansea City at the weekend, while the 21-year-old’s conduct on England duty earlier this month – when he flashed a middle finger – has made it a testing couple of weeks.
Pochettino, however, has hailed Alli’s performance against Barnsley, insisting that the attacker is maturing as he attempts to ‘find his balance’.
Pochettino told reporters at his post-match press conference:
“For me, Dele Alli is a top player. He is a key player for us. I think he helps us by scoring today. It’s true that everyone can do better, but I am happy.
“It is a period that he needs to find his balance, but I am so happy, his performance was good. He tried and scored and that is fantastic.”
Alli has scored 35 times in 101 appearances for Tottenham after joining the Premier League club from MK Dons in the summer of 2015.
The attacker will look to add to his tally when Spurs travel to rivals West Ham United in the league on Saturday afternoon.