I’ll keep play­ing with fire, says Alli

Daily Mail - - Football - by ADAM CRAFTON

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.’

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