Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho believes using Dele Alli in an advanced role is getting the best out of him as he is more “comfortable” operating near the striker.
The 23-year-old England international has been Spurs’ most outstanding performer during Mourinho’s tenure so far.
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- Mourinho succeeded Mauricio Pochettino during the last international break.
- Following his appointment Mourinho, asked Alli whether him or his brother has been playing for Spurs this season.
- Alli responded with a man-of-the-match performance against West Ham and goal vs Olympiacos.
- He went on to register a brace in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Bournemouth.
- Mourinho believes playing Alli as a ‘number 10’ gets the best out of his creative talent.
Although Mourinho’s reign is only three games old, no one has scored more under him than Alli, who is tied with striker Harry Kane on three goals.
Prior to Mourinho’s hiring as Pochettino’s successor, Alli had registered two goals across 10 matches in all competitions leading to many questions being asked of him.
One of those individuals was Mourinho himself and the Portuguese took Alli to one side to ask whether Alli or his brother had been playing for Spurs this season.
Alli responded to his manager’s line of questioning with a trademark performance against West Ham and continued his fine form with a brace in the north Londoners’ crucial 3-2 win over Bournemouth.
Such impressive recent displays are a sharp contrast to how Alli had been performing under Pochettino and Mourinho believes not needing to carry out duties which reduce his impact on the game have helped boost the Englishman’s ego.
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“He plays in a position where he feels happy and comfortable,” he told reporters.
“We also give him space for his creativity, which he always has. I think he played three phenomenal matches since I arrived. For me, Dele is not a midfield player. We want him to have the freedom to associate with the attacking players, this is the best position for him.
“He’s the best thing that can happen to a coach because everybody speaks about him, you [media], the fans speak about him for the right reasons. He’s playing really, really, really well and I could not ask any more from him.
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“I didn’t know him. I’d only played against him a few times. I knew the qualities of the players and that’s the direction I went in. For a player of such quality it is not possible that he is not performing at a high level,” Mourinho added.
“Sometimes they are not at their best level but then I find him a good guy in the group. A good guy. Not a selfish person that thinks only about himself. Not at all. He’s a Spurs boy, a group boy. The group is a good family. They have very good empathy between them.”