I’ll keep playing with fire, says Alli
Dele Alli admits he felt ‘ horrible’ after the red card that damaged Tottenham’ s europa league hopes, but insists he would not be the same player without his fiery streak.
Alli was sent off for a dangerous lunge on Gent’s Brecht Dejaegere in the first knockout stage last month and has faced calls to rein in his temper.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino has spoken to him about his discipline but the Argentine wants the edge to stay in Alli’s game.
Alli said: ‘i have calmed down a bit, but it’s important i don’t take that out of my game. i’m never going to say sorry for wanting to win or trying as hard as i can.
‘i have so many things to learn from this season.
‘everyone makes mistakes and it’s important you bounce back. i felt horrible straight after the red card but it’s important i learn from it and keep improving.
‘ He ( Pochettino) knows that’s who i am. We’ve had a few talks and he’s been really supportive. it’s good to have a manager who trusts me as much as he does.
‘i’m still young, i’m 20. There are ups and downs in football. if things don’t go my way, i learn from them and keep improving.’
Alli has responded well to his dismissal, scoring in each of Tottenham’s four games since the europa league exit. He has 17 goals for Spurs this season and 14 in the Premier league. He now has an eye on 20 league goals for the campaign.
‘Yeah, i always want more, i’m always hungry,’ Alli said with a grin. ‘it’s important the team keep scoring and we keep winning games.’
Alli has played further forward of late and at times in the 2-1 defeat of Southampton on Sunday he appeared to be playing as a conventional No 9. it led Pochettino to joke that Alli’s versatility is so great he could play anywhere on the pitch.
The Spurs boss said: ‘i saw him at 17 playing at Milton Keynes as a holding midfielder against Manchester United. Always he can surprise me. Maybe one day he can play as a goalkeeper or as a full back or centre back.’
Alli, however, says his favourite role remains creative midfielder.
‘i enjoy playing as a No 10,’ Alli said. ‘i am happy to play anywhere in this team. if the manager wants to push me higher in some games, then i am happy to do that for the team. But i think i am a midfielder.’