Alli not applying
The situation for Dele Alli has been a tricky one ever since the beginning of the season. He has been a bit-part figure in the Spurs dressing room and used sparingly by Jose Mourinho.
There have been links with him making a move out of the club this January on loan, with PSG, now managed by former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, interested in the player.
Mourinho has recently spoken cryptically about the Alli situation and has even suggested that a possible cause for his lack of inclusion may be from a failure to apply his effort correctly in training.
“In every dressing room are unhappy players,” Mourinho said. “For sure. If any one of us, of my tribe, tells you that in his dressing room are only happy players, I don’t think it’s true. Or somebody is so so lucky to have a miracle in his hands.”
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 27: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur reacts during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 27, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
“Then you can have unhappy professional and the unhappy professional is the one that is unhappy but feels that his duty is to work, work, work and work. And there is the unhappy that believes that it’s not his job to fight and to work every minute for the squad and for the club.”
The question would be why suggest a possible negative scenario for a player if it did not apply to someone within your own squad? Some would hope that a manager would protect his player no matter his views on his application in training or his situation at the club, this possibly appears not to be the case for Mourinho and Alli.
Another player who has struggled for regular game time since his arrival at Tottenham is Gareth Bale. The Welsh international was a star at White Hart Lane before he moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee. However since he has returned to his club on loan from Los Blancos, he has been underused by Mourinho. Yet, the Portuguese coach has highlighted injuries and the level of competition as the reasons for his exclusion from the side on a number of occasions.
“There was not even a second of discussion about that. Gareth is a player on loan until the end of the season. We are speaking about Gareth himself, Tottenham, Real Madrid. But, I promise you, not one second of discussion,” said Mourinho.
“He arrived injured and was injured I believe for the first month. The Europa League matches were helping him to get his condition.”
Tottenham Hotspur’s Welsh striker Gareth Bale during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on October 18, 2020. (Photo by Clive Rose / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by CLIVE ROSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
“Europa League group phase is a different level than the Premier League – the [Europa League] knockout is a different story, but the group phase is a different intensity.”
“The Premier League he didn’t play many minutes, [then] another small injury at Stoke [in the Carabao Cup] where he was having a good first half. [It’s] not an easy process. Everybody knew that in the past couple of seasons in Madrid, they were not easy for him, so let’s go step by step and try to get the best out of him.”
Spurs have been given a favourable tie in the Europa League knockout stages with Austrian side Wolfsberger their opponents and it will likely be that Bale earns minutes in this fixture.