Are you Dele or Dele's brother? Mourinho reveals Alli pep talk

Oleh Dom Farrell 23 November 2019 14
Are you Dele or Dele's brother? Mourinho reveals Alli pep talk

Jose Mourinho wants to see the "real" Dele Alli again at Tottenham and has challenged the England international to turn his form around.

Alli established himself as one of the brightest talents in English football under Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs, contributing prolifically from midfield.

He scored 18 Premier League goals as Tottenham finished runners-up to Chelsea in the Premier League in 2016-17, cementing his status as a key figure for club and country.

Alli was on target in England's 2018 World Cup quarter-final win over Sweden but has struggled for form and fitness since.

The 23-year-old was a peripheral figure during the opening weeks of the current campaign, in which he lost his place in Gareth Southgate's national squad.

Whether or not Alli's form can be pulled around is likely to be one of the key early measures of Mourinho's Tottenham tenure, which begins away to West Ham on Saturday, and the ex-Chelsea and Inter boss has been typically forthright in addressing the issue at hand.

"I already spoke with him and I asked him, 'Are you Dele or Dele's brother?'," he explained.

"And he told me, 'I'm Dele'. Okay, so play like Dele."

Alli scored in Tottenham's draws with Watford and Everton over the past month but Mourinho does not expect to oversee an overnight transformation.

"I think he is potentially a fantastic player," he said. "Now I have to try and create a tactical situation that he is happy with, give him the right dynamic, prepare him physically well because he had important injuries too and is not at the top of his form.

"I cannot expect him now to play on Saturday, if he plays, and to go there and be the man of the match, but to go through a process that can bring the real Dele back.

"The real Dele is the one that in the last years impressed all of us."

Real or otherwise had already been part of the conversation regarding the ex-MK Dons youngster and his new boss.

A tweet purported to be from Alli in 2012, which was later proved to be fake, emerged after Mourinho's appointment as Pochettino's successor. In it, the Alli imposter called the two-time Champions League winner "overrated" and "too cocky", concluding: "I'm glad I'll never have to work with him".

Mourinho was happy to laugh off the unusual episode and took it as an opportunity to explain he would welcome such honesty.

"If it was not fake, I would say… I'll tell you a story," he began, before chuckling his way through an anecdote from the start of his decorated Porto reign.

"When I changed from [Uniao de] Leiria to Porto [in 2002], mid-season too, I'd played against Porto a couple of weeks before.

"One of the players – I have no problem to say the name, because he laughs with [me about] this all the time – was Deco. For 90 minutes I insulted him, and he insulted me. Big! We insulted each other for 90 minutes.

"A couple of weeks later, I walk into the dressing room and he was there with his head down.

"I go there, and I talk, [it was] top. If [Alli's tweet] was true, I'm happy with that."

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