Sports

Alli can save Mourinho’s job – but only if Tottenham boss makes key allowances

It was a sight that many thought we had seen the last of.

Sure, it may have only come in a Europa League dead rubber against poor opposition.

But the vision of Dele Alli majestically trapping a ball before launching himself into a sensational, swivelling bicycle kick was still enough to bring back a warm glow of nostalgia as well as a faint whiff of future hope for Tottenham and England fans alike.

It was a moment not dissimilar to his wonder-strike against Crystal Palace in 2016 when Alli was at the peak of his powers.

And although Jose Mourinho didn’t show much emotion on the touchline, it is a goal which could prove to be a pivotal and significant one for him.

Dele Alli’s superb bicycle kick was a reminder of just what he can do

Suddenly there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for Alli, who has endured a season which the majority of players would be unable to bounce back from.

After spending a large chunk of the campaign not even on the bench the mercurial 24-year-old has, slowly but surely, worked his way back into Mourinho’s thinking recently, and has now played a part in each of Spurs’ last five games in a row.

And there is no doubt that an Alli playing at his best would go some way towards easing the growing pressure on Mourinho’s shoulders.

For one thing, the man responsible for the decision on whether to sack the Portuguese manager or not, Daniel Levy, is known to be a huge fan of the player.

Reports suggested it was the Spurs chairman’s intervention which prevented Alli from being sold or loaned in January, and the sight of him in full flow tonight will have massively pleased Levy.

Perhaps even more importantly, though, is the fact that Alli’s invention and trickery is exactly what Spurs are crying out for at the moment.

Alli appeared to be enjoying his football again on Thursday night
Alli appeared to be enjoying his football again on Thursday night

Mourinho’s outdated counter-attacking methods have come under heavy scrutiny, and the plan to soak up pressure before hoofing it up to Harry Kane and Heung min-Son just isn’t working.

It has been particularly ineffective against the teams nearer the bottom of the table, as dropped points against Newcastle, Palace, Wolves, Fulham and Brighton go to show.

Spurs’ next three opponents? Burnley, Fulham and Palace.

It has been widely reported that these are must-win matches if Mourinho is to cling on to his job.

And it’s where he needs Alli more than ever – but also has to accept him for what he is at the same time.

No other player in the Spurs team can come up with the flicks, the tricks and moments of spontaneity that Alli can.

Alli also set up Spurs' second goal and looked dangerous all night
Alli also set up Spurs’ second goal and looked dangerous all night

Yet if Mourinho is to get the best out of Alli he will have to go against all his instincts and accept that his style of play comes with risks.

As well as his bicycle kick, Alli showed what he can do creativity-wise by picking out Carlos Vinicius with a wonderful cross to make it 2-0 before putting Gareth Bale through for the third.

And Jermaine Jenas summed up Mourinho’s dilemma shortly afterward Vinicius’ header on commentary duties for BT Sport.

“Dele puts the ball at risk a lot,” he said. “Sometimes it doesn’t come off and Mourinho may not like it, but then you saw the situation with the goal.”

There have been suggestions from inside the Spurs dressing room that Mourinho has instilled a fear factor of trying new things, and focuses more on avoiding mistakes than creating moments of magic.

But if there’s one thing we know for sure, it is that now is the time he simply must take a chance.

Spurs supporters are turning against him and his style of football, but would be placated somewhat with a few wins and a run in the side for the ever-popular Alli.

Jose Mourinho may be tempted to start Alli against Burnley on Sunday
Jose Mourinho may be tempted to start Alli against Burnley on Sunday

Thursday’s overhead kick is the sort of moment that would have brought the whole stadium to its feet had there been fans present.

Mourinho needs more of them if he is to stay in the hot-seat in North London beyond this summer.

And that is why Alli simply has to start against Burnley on Sunday – and, crucially, must be allowed to play the game his way without fear of reprimand.




Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button