Jose Mourinho appeared to throw Dele Alli a lifeline after Tottenham’s emphatic 5-0 victory over non-league Marine and said he was ‘really happy’ with the midfielder’s performance and attitude in Sunday’s one-sided FA Cup third-round clash.
A frustrated Alli has badly struggled for minutes in the Premier League this season and was handed a rare start away to Marine, who sit eight divisions and 161 below Spurs in English football’s pyramid.
The out-of-favour England international assisted Tottenham’s opener in the 24th minute and impressed throughout as Carlos Vinicius completed a 13-minute hat-trick and Lucas Moura and Alfie Devine netted either side of half-time at the Marine Travel Arena.
There are rumours Alli could be set to reunite with former manager Mauricio Pochettino at PSG before the end of the month, with the Ligue 1 giants reportedly putting together a package to convince Tottenham to part with their player.
Mourinho has been publicly critical of Alli amid the recent speculation and even accused the 24-year-old of ‘creating problems for his own team’ after the side’s Carabao Cup win over Stoke City.
However, asked about Alli’s display at Marine, the Portuguese told BBC Sport: ‘I enjoyed his performance very much.
‘Of course he was cautious and like everyone of us was a little bit scared of the nature of the pitch and the way they can compete.
‘So it was a game where the creative players couldn’t risk a lot but between him and Gedson Fernandes they were responsible for the dynamic of the team in the first half to create chances and score goals.’
Mourinho later added: ‘I am really happy with his attitude in the game, of course we didn’t want to risk much, the pitch is a bit dangerous and their enthusiasm can put the creative ones in some risk, but I am happy – good professionalism, good dynamic from him and Gedson to start trying to create, so really pleased for the performance.
‘He was here today and of course it was not the match to measure the quality, but the professionalism and attitude and I am very happy with it, I will not be surprised if next Wednesday Dele is playing with us.
‘Of course, in the Carabao Cup we reached the objective to be in the final.
‘In the FA Cup this is a little first step. In the Premier League the table is a bit fake, we have had some very good results and some disappointing ones. But not bad at all.’
Mourinho made sure to praise Tottenham’s Northern Premier League opposition and insisted ‘the result was not one to be ashamed of’.
‘I’ve never played against a side at this level in the pyramid but many times played against League One or League Two sides, so I’m not English but I know what this means for everyone so I brought a good team, not just for the result but also for the meaning of the cup,’ the Spurs head coach continued.
‘For them I think it is incredible to have Gareth Bale playing here, Moussa Sissoko and all these guys. I think it is an incredible feeling for them.
‘They compete and the result was not one to be ashamed of so everyone goes home happy.
‘I have to admit that in the first 10 minutes we didn’t create a lot, then they hit the bar, so if it goes 1-0, I’m not saying we would lose but for sure they’d fight with even more energy.
‘It was good and even people at home will have enjoyed it because it’s football.’
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