After his stunning strike in the Europa League in mid-week, Dele Alli is surely pushing for a chance to start when Tottenham take on Burnley on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking after the game against Wolfsberger, Jose Mourinho was quick to lavish praise on his star, saying: “The goal I don’t need to speak, because everyone watched it and I believe that all around the world on all these sports TV, people are going to watch it, no need to talk about it.
“But for me the globality of the performance is what matters. He played very well in every aspect of the game, he played very well. In this moment when we are going to play every three days, 10 matches in March, to have Dele back at this level is amazing.”
Then, in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against the Clarets today, Mourinho added that he is “very happy” with the £26m-rated Alli now, and insisted that as he works his way back up to full fitness, he will continue to get better.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, Gary Neville laid down the gauntlet to Alli about stepping his game up, saying: “I want a lot more from him. He’s an outstanding player. There’s a reason why his career is doing what it’s doing at the moment. It’s not just Jose Mourinho. Dele has to get hold of that himself.”
Well, his performance on Wednesday night against Wolfsberger certainly showed that the talent is still very much there, and as Mourinho says, it was his all-round performance that really offers signs of encouragement going forward.
With Burnley awaiting the Lilywhites on Sunday afternoon, Alli’s ability to create a bit of magic could be the kind of game-changer that the Spurs boss needs to break down a Clarets defence that have come to be known as one of the most stubborn in the Premier League in recent seasons – even this year with them lying just above the drop zone, only seven other teams have conceded less than them.
Alli’s introduction into the starting line-up is something Mourinho must seriously consider.