Glow­ing Dele tribute

FRESH START: MOUR­INHO CHAL­LENGED ALLI TO SHOW HIS REAL SELF

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - Lon­don

Jose Mour­inho paid a glow­ing tribute to Dele Alli after the 23-yearold in­spired Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur to a 3-2 Premier League win over West Ham United at Lon­don Sta­dium on Satur­day to kick­start the Por­tuguese’s reign as man­ager.

Ahead of the game, Mour­inho had chal­lenged Alli, who has of­ten seemed out-of-sorts this sea­son, to show his real self and the man­ager was re­warded with an out­ra­geous piece of skill from his new charge in the lead-up to Spurs’ se­cond goal.

The ball ap­peared out of play be­fore Alli some­how scooped it down the line to Son He­nung-min who set up Lu­cas Moura with a pin­point cross.

“(Alli’s) too good to not be one of the best play­ers in the world and not play­ing with the na­tional team,” said Mour­inho, who hugged the mid­fielder warmly as he left the field.

Alli also played a piv­otal part in Son’s opener and looked back to his best after a se­ries of lack­lus­tre per­for­mances caused him to lose his place in the Eng­land squad.

“I’m happy with him, I spent a few min­utes with him in train­ing and out­side the pitch. And we were say­ing that the best Dele Alli has to be back,” said Mour­inho.

The man­ager was de­ter­mined that noth­ing would spoil his mood after watch­ing his side’s first away win in 10 months but he knows he must tighten up a de­fence which leaked two late goals and has only man­aged one league clean sheet all sea­son.

Mour­inho brought back Eric Dier to sit in front of the back four but their fa­mil­iar fail­ings were ev­i­dent as West Ham nar­rowed the scale of the de­feat.

“I was re­ally happy be­fore we con­ceded the two goals, we were play­ing well, bring­ing to the game things we had tried in train­ing. And we had the ball to make it 4-0 and kill the game,” said Mour­inho.

“We are lucky I have so many years in the Premier League so I told the play­ers at half­time ‘even if we are 3-0 in the 85th minute the game will still be open’.

“But there were also many fac­tors. The emo­tions of los­ing the pre­vi­ous man­ager, peo­ple com­ing back from na­tional teams and fa­tigue in the last 20 min­utes.

“The most im­por­tant thing was to win, no mat­ter how.” –

Pic­ture: AFP

PER­FECT START. Jose Mour­inho started life as Spurs man­ager with a good away from home against West Ham at The Lon­don Sta­dium on Satur­day.

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