Jose Mourinho has teased that Dele Alli could be handed another chance in Premier League after the Tottenham playmaker shone in the FA Cup third-round rout of non-league Marine on Sunday night. Alli has found minutes hard to come by this season and has made just one top-flight start all season.
Despite impressing when Mourinho first took over as Spurs boss in November 2019, Alli has fallen out of favour in the Portuguese coach’s first full campaign in charge.
He was hooked at half-time on the opening weekend of the current league season in the defeat to Everton and has missed out on the match-day squad altogether 10 times since.
Alli was a late substitute in clashes with Crystal Palace and Liverpool but was not given enough minutes to make any kind of impact.
And the Paris Saint-Germain-linked attacking midfielder was an unused substitute against Wolves and Leeds more recently with Giovani Lo Celso out injured.
Offered a start against eighth-tier Marine in Crosby on Sunday, Alli set up the opening goal for Carlos Vinicius and played a key role in Spurs’ second and fourth strikes of the evening too.
Speaking post-match, Mourinho revealed he was delighted with the contributions of the England international and also the on-loan Gedson Fernandes.
“I am really happy with his attitude in the game,” Mourinho told BBC Sport after Spurs’ 5-0 victory, with Vinicius scoring a first-half hat-trick at Rossett Park.
“Of course we didn’t want to risk much, the pitch is a bit dangerous and their enthusiasm can put the creative ones in some risk, but I am happy.
“Good professionalism, good dynamic from him [Alli] and Gedson [Fernandes] to start trying to create, so really pleased for the performance.”
Asked if Alli could get an opportunity in Spurs’ next game against Aston Villa in the league on Wednesday, the Spurs boss added: “He was here today and of course it was not the match to measure the quality, but the professionalism and attitude and I am very happy with it.
“I will not be surprised if next Wednesday Dele is playing with us.”
He added in his post-match press conference: “I like very much. I think him and Gedson they were two players who were responsible from minute 10 until minute 75.
“They were the ones that created. They were the ones with mobility, they were the ones that started that dynamic that created problems for them and goals for us.
“So I’m really happy. Of course he was a little bit cautious, like all of the creative players, they were a little bit afraid of the pitch, of some emotional tackle. But very happy, very professional attitude and a good performance.
Mourinho continued to BBC Sport of Spurs’ recent fortunes: “Of course, in the Carabao Cup we reached the objective to be in the final.
“In the FA Cup this is a little first step. In the Premier League the table is a bit fake, we have had some very good results and some disappointing ones. But not bad at all.”
Mourinho was pleased with the professionalism of his team’s performance on Merseyside, with Spurs dominant throughout and never taking their foot off the gas.
“I am happy, I think the boys were professionals and didn’t stop until the game was over in terms of result,” he said.
“The attitude was positive and that means a lot for me and also for the competition and to Marine’s guys, because they felt we played seriously.
“It is nice for him [Vinicius to score a hat-trick]. Of course, for a striker that doesn’t play a lot because in front of him is the big one – every time he has a little chance to play, like in the Europa League, he is there for us and we are very happy.”
Debutant Alfie Devine capped off Spurs’ evening, coming off the bench to become the club’s youngest ever player at 16 years and 162 days old.
Devine, signed in the summer from Wigan, came on at half-time and drilled a low effort in at the near post to make it 5-0 in the second half.
“It is good for the kid. This season we have managed to give minutes to young guys,” Mourinho reflected.
“Dane Scarlett youngest one to play in the Europa League, now for Alfie to come to his area, he is not far from here, to make his debut and score his first goal is good for him and a good feeling for everyone at the academy.”