Pochettino defends Dele

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Mauricio Pochettino refused to criticise Dele Alli last weekend, even after the midfielder dived to win Tottenham a penalty in their 5-0 thrashing of Swansea.

The 20-year-old then scored against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday, having earlier irritated the Russian side by shooting when he had been expected to give them back the ball.

Alli’s recent antics have coincided with a noticeable return to form.

“Dele Alli is Dele Alli because he’s a little bit naughty,” Pochettino said.

“Don’t cross the line but this is a little bit his identity. It’s who is he. Dele Alli is Dele Alli because of how he is. But it’s his character, in a good way.

“He’s a brilliant boy. He has a brilliant brain, he’s very smart. He is very sensitive, very intuitive and because he comes from a difficult background you can understand when you’re with him.

“But he’s a very nice person – off the pitch.”

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