Mauricio Pochettino compares relationship with in-form Dele Alli to one of father and son

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino revealed that he's treating Dele Alli like a son in his quest to develop the midfielder into one of the world's top footballers.

Alli scored yet again at the weekend, curling in a beauty from range as Spurs beat Watford 4-0 at White Hart Lane, taking his tally to 16 league goals for the season, an astonishing tally for the young midfielder.

Now, speaking to the London Evening Standard after another successful win, Pochettino explained the secret to his success of managing Alli.

Sometimes you have to be tough

"It is like when you have a son. You love him, but sometimes you have to be tough," said the Argentine, stating that "time has shown" Spurs have made the right decision to be patient with him, despite Alli's fiery attitude.

"This character is perfect for a player. When you are winning and you feel that to lose on the pitch is like losing your life, those are the qualities we want in a player. He needs to improve, but he needs love."

Top of European tree?

Alli's form has seen him bring about a record of more Premier League goals than David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard at this stage of their career's, leading to many hailing him as the most exciting prospect in European football, with his 22nd birthday on Tuesday.

Asked whether or not Alli was the best youngster in Europe, Pochettino said "one of the best, if not the best" telling people to "look at his age and statistics."

Alli is the nailed on favourite to pick up the Premier League Young Player of the Year award next month following his sparkling season, whilst he'll surely also be in contention for the main Player of the Year award, but must fight off stiff competition from the likes of N'Golo Kante and Eden Hazard.