Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino and opening goal-scorer Dele Alli have reflected on yesterday’s 2-0 win over Newcastle, speaking out on Shelvey’s moment of madness as well as Kyle Walker-Peters’ head-turning debut.
A relatively even game at Newcastle quickly transformed into a walk in St James’ Park on Sunday, when Magpies’ captain Jonjo Shelvey foolishly stamped on Dele Alli in plain view of referee Andre Marriner, subsequently earning himself a red card and handing the advantage to Spurs.
Tottenham saw out the game professionally with Dele himself opening the scoring from an Eriksen cross on the hour mark, while Welsh full-back Ben Davies completed the scoring 9 minutes later, finishing a one-touch passing move from inside the box.
Speaking on the game-changing incident, Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on midfielder Dele Alli, claiming that the Englishman was ‘calm’ and ‘mature’ after drawing Shelvey into committing the foul by withholding the ball from the Newcastle skipper. He said:
“He was calm – that’s important. Last season, we talked a lot about that, how we need to behave and improve and learn.”
“He’s mature enough now to accept sometimes what happens on the pitch, but he is so calm, he is so brave. Then he scored – a great goal – and I am very pleased.”
In recent times, Dele has earned himself a reputation for poor anger management on the pitch after twice lashing out in games against West Brom and Gent, and consequently serving retrospective bans.
However, Dele Alli expressed his sympathy for Shelvey while claiming that he would understand the 25 year old’s frustration having been ‘caught out’ himself previously.
“It’s one of those things but he’s a great player and I’m sure he’s going to be disappointed.” He told SkySports.
“I’ve been caught out a couple of times for my temper but it’s something I like to keep to my game.”
“It was a game where we had to keep our cool, we didn’t want to get too heated up and get brought into what they wanted us to do, which was make it more of a physical game and a battle than a game of football.”
“It was important that we just kept the ball moving, I don’t think there was any need to react today. I was happy with the performance and the win.”
Despite this, Pochettino took a strong stance on the subject and declared that the referee was completely justified in dismissing Shelvey from the pitch.
“I think it was clear it was a red card,” He added. “The referee has seen the action, it was very clear.”
“It’s unlucky for Newcastle. I’m sure Rafa is upset about the situation. Sometimes when you’re a player on the pitch it’s not easy to have the control.”
Reflecting on the game itself, Dele Alli labeled Tottenham’s win a ‘professional performance’ after having to wait until an hour in to finally break the deadlock. He told Spurs TV:
“It was a really professional performance by all the players. It’s not an easy place to come, here.”
“They played very well in the first half, made it difficult for us. They maybe didn’t create that many chances, but they stayed compact, they made it hard for us to break them down.”
“But we knew if we stayed patient, the chances would come and thankfully we put them away. Sometimes you can get frustrated when you have that much possession and you are not 1-0 or 2-0 up at half-time. But it was a really professional performance.”
“We had to stick to the game-plan and keep moving the ball,” He added. “It was difficult to move it as quickly as we would have liked to because the pitch was a little bit dry, but the boys at the back kept their heads, kept playing the ball around the back and the chance came.”
The pair then quickly turned their attention to man of the match debutant Kyle Walker-Peters, who massively impressed on his first competitive outing for Spurs.
Speaking about the youngster’s debut, Pochettino revealed he was overjoyed for the 20 year old, to perform at such a high level so early in his career with the senior squad. He said:
“He was fantastic, I’m very happy for him. I think his dream became true to play in the Premier League.”
“To be nominated man of the match was fantastic. He always tried to play to help the team, he showed very good quality.”
Additionally, Dele Alli poured similar praises on the right-back, while also suggesting that, should they work hard enough, any youngster in the Spurs ranks could earn an opportunity in the first-team.
“He is a fantastic player,” He said of Walker-Peters. “He’s been working really hard in training.”
“You’re at a club with a manager where, if you play well in training and you work hard, you know you are going to get your opportunity to play in the Premier League.”
“He’s done it and he took it and it was a great performance by him, so there is going to be some competition now. I am really happy for him.”
Finally, Pochettino gave a brief update of Tottenham’s transfer business, as the North-London club are under pressure to spend considering they’re still the only team in the Premier League not to announce a single new signing.
However, just as he has done in recent weeks, the Argentine calmly reiterated that the club have been working hard to try to sign some new players and that fans could expect announcements in the coming weeks.
“We will try to improve the squad,” He added. “We’ll try to sign a few players more, we’re trying hard to bring some new energy.”
“I’m sure the next week or the week after we will sign.”
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