For only the third time this season, Dele Alli was included in Jose Mourinho’s 18-man list to face a Premier League fixture. The Spurs visited Selhurst Park in an everything but easy game, which ended on a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.
Dele, who has mostly played games in the Europa League qualifying and group stage campaign, showed a lot of energy when coming on for Steven Bergwijn with just 10 minutes to play in the game (including added time). Not only did he recover the ball in a dangerous break for Palace, but also caused the foul on the edge of the box where Eric Dier almost scored.
The 24 year-old has been previously criticized by Jose Mourinho in terms of his attitude towards training and not ‘working hard’. Being left out of multiple squad lists seems to have proven Jose’s point, as Dele showed a lot of grit during his time on the pitch.
Since Carlos Vinicius and Gareth Bale did not travel to Palace, Dele was the preferred option by Mourinho over Lucas Moura, who has proven to be one of the most reliable goal scorers for Tottenham this season.
Alli didn’t play in Spurs last group stage match in Europa League against Antwerp, and the Portuguese manager stated in the postgame conference that he understands the player’s frustration.
“How can I keep them all happy? I don’t think they’re all happy at all, that’s the nature of football, I can no make miracles,” Mourinho told BT Sport. “Let’s not run away from reality. A player on the bench who realises all five subs have been used of course is not a happy player and I would not expect him (Alli) to be happy.”
This season, Dele has recorded 3 goals and 1 assists across all competitions.
It will be interesting to see what the future awaits for him, who was used to being a regular starter in the team prior to the start of the 2020/21 campaign.