While Tottenham failed to perform away to Manchester United in mid-week, it was not down to a lack of effort of quality from Dele Alli in the number 10 position.
Alli was on the scoresheet yet again, grabbing Spurs a goal against the run of play with a superb piece of skill, flicking the ball over Fred’s head and slamming it home on the half volley.
Unfortunately, despite getting Spurs back into the game, Dele was let down again by the defensive players who shipped another two goals at Old Trafford.
This was Alli’s fourth goal in as many games under Mourinho, an appointment that marked Dele’s return to his favoured number 10 position.
At times under Pochettino, the Englishman was fielded out wide on the left or even in a holding midfield role, which perhaps contributed to his lack of form.
In his press conference today, one journalist asked Mourinho: ‘A few years ago you told us your dream number 10 is a player who plays like a nine and a half with the ball and an eight a half without the ball, how do you see Dele’s role in the team? Is that the role you see for him?’
Mourinho then confirmed that Dele is doing just that, implying that he could have the making of Jose’s dream number 10.
Mourinho replied (Football London): “You have a good memory man. That’s what he’s doing. In defensive process, we have to get a better dynamic through everybody. He has to work of course with the two midfield players and with the wingers in closing the spaces to be more compact and protect our defensive line better.
“I just can’t point to individuals and say it’s that centre-back or that left-back, but we have to improve our defensive process. A number 10 who is an 8 in a defensive process is also very important but we must do that without losing the 9 ½ because that’s the guy who scores goals and he has to keep scoring goals.
“I’m really, really happy with him. Great attitude and great motivation and I think he under-performed for too long and I think now he’s really committed to playing at the top level for the most possible time.
“Everything is globality. Again it’s more about him than me. The natural frustration of a fantastic player who knows he was under-performing. Of course, you sometimes need external sources of motivation but if you are waiting for them that’s not enough. It must be something from yourself.
“I think now he’s in that kind of dynamic where he’s doing things by himself. He doesn’t need me to be here every day. He’s working well and playing well and I’m really happy.”
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