Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has told Italian sports paper Gazzetto Della Sport that he “never doubted” midfielder Dele Alli.
The article on ESPN describes how Alli finished our festive wins over Burnley and Southampton in fine form with four assists and a goal, putting an end to a poor run of form following his scintillating two-goal performance against Real Madrid on November 1st.
The article adds that Pochettino says he was always confident Alli would get back to his best.
“He’s got enormous quality and I’ve never doubted him,” Pochettino said. “You’ve got to be patient with players and sometimes they need a rest, while you’ve got to expect one or two mistakes.
The argyle goes on to say the Spurs manager will return to the region of Italy where his great grandparents were born when We face Juventus in the Champions League round-of-16 next month.
“I thought ‘at last, I’m going to go see my roots,'” he said. “I’ve been to Italy many times, but never to Piedmont. Given there won’t be much time, I’m not going to be able to visit the area where my great-grandfather’s from, but I will get to breathe the Turin air.
Pochettino added: “I never had any real illusions about the draw — when you’re in the last 16, it’s only logical that you’re going to face difficult opponents. Juventus are the top — they’ve been in two of the past three finals.”
The article adds that Pochettino was asked if there is advantage to play the second leg at Wembley, to which he said: “I don’t think so. In European games, being home or away makes little difference. These ties last 180 minutes and it’s going to be a real battle against Juve.
“We’re a month-and-a-half away and a lot of things can happen, but we have started to give it some thought.”
The article also adds that Pochettino believes the tie will include two of the best strikers in the world in Harry Kane and Gonzalo Higuain, and he also said he has always admired Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who is expected to retire in the summer.
“[Gonzalo] Higuain, [Sergio] Aguero and our Kane are among the best in their role,” he said.
He added: “Harry’s greatest strength is his determination to improve. His bond with Tottenham is also great — it reminds me of [Francesco] Totti with Roma.
“I’ve always admired Buffon and I’m really sorry that Italy aren’t going to be in Russia and that this will prevent him from playing in a sixth World Cup — it’s a real injustice.”
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