According to The Telegraph Mauricio Pochettino reckons massive matches like this week’s visit of Manchester City bring out the best in Dele Alli.
Dele has been under constant scrutiny this season however Pochettino called the midfielder “the best 21-year-old in the world”. and this week he reiterated it saying Alli’s talent was “not something you can buy at the market”.
“For me it’s a massive challenge to play Manchester City,” he said. “[For Alli] he needs a strong opposition to give his best. It’s his character. He is so competitive that when it’s easy he’s not interested. In training sessions, when you do finishing practice without any opposition, sometimes you have to say: ‘Dele, come on.’ But if you put opposition there, he will score an unbelievable goal.
Pochettino added: “He is a bit special. Not just a special talent but a special character. That is why we are talking a lot during the whole season about Dele Alli because he is a special talent with special energy. He needs to feel the competition.”
The article goes on to say that Alli elaborated on his manager’s thoughts, explaining why he benefits from playing against the top teams.
“When you play in the Premier League against the top six, as opposed to bottom-half teams, the game is always a lot different,”: Alli said after last Saturday’s fixture with Stoke. “The top six really go at it with you. Both teams want to win and there’s a lot more space. Both teams are looking to attack.
He added: “Teams in the bottom half, they still have a lot of qualities and they can hurt you at any time, but they’re more likely to sit off and close the gaps in between the lines so it’s a lot more difficult for a No 10 to get on the ball and create chances.”
It adds that Alli believes there will be opportunities against them. “Man City are an amazing team, they’ve been very good this year, but we want to win every game and we fancy ourselves against anyone,” :he said. “Of course [an attacking approach] can work. They’re only human, they can make mistakes. They’re an incredible team with incredible players all over the pitch, but we’re going to try to play our football as we always do.”
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