‘I blame myself – working with Mourinho was great’: Dele Alli breaks his silence on his Tottenham exile under the Portuguese manager as he sets his sights on a fresh start under Nuno Espirito Santo
- Dele Alli was mainly used in cup competitions by Jose Mourinho last season
- Despite finding things tough, Alli said that he learned a lot from his old manager
- Now, the 25-year-old is looking to make the most of a fresh start in 2021-22
Dele Alli holds no hard feelings towards Jose Mourinho after his time in the wilderness at Tottenham under the Portuguese manager.
Alli found himself dipping in and out of the first team setup under Mourinho last year, with many of his appearances coming in the FA Cup and Europa League.
Mourinho was frustrated by Alli’s application in training in the early days of his Tottenham tenure – as documented in the behind-the-scenes Amazon show All or Nothing – but the 25-year-old holds no grudges against his old manager.
Dele Alli says he ‘learned a lot’ by working under former manager Jose Mourinho at Tottenham
The 25-year-old found it tough to keep a place in Tottenham’s starting line-up with Mourinho
The only person I blame is myself,’ he said to Goal. ‘I should be performing at a level where it is difficult to not put me in the team or not play me.
‘I don’t blame anyone but myself. Working with Mourinho was a great experience and one I learned a lot from.’
Mourinho admitted in an interview in Spain recently that former players of his may consider him ‘a b*****d’ because of his direct nature but clearly the Tottenham attacker isn’t one of them.
Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham in April and now there is a chance for a fresh start for Alli under Nuno Espirito Santo, the former Wolves boss who took over at the London club last week.
Just two days ago, Alli shared pictures of himself training alone at a venue called ‘The Campus’ in Portugal and is relishing the upcoming campaign.
‘He (Nuno) has done a great job at Wolves,’ Alli said. ‘I am looking forward to speaking to him and working with him. He is a great manager and it is exciting times.
‘I want to make this year one of the best I have had. A lot of people have said I need to find the form I was in a few years ago. For me, I don’t even want to get to that, I want to go past that and reach my full potential to be the best player I can be.’
Alli has been training in Portugal to get in the best shape possible before the new season
Tottenham recently appointed Nuno Espirito Santo as Mourinho’s successor as manager
Perhaps a marker of Alli’s fall in form is his absence in the England fold. Three years ago, he played and scored in England’s World Cup quarter-final win over Sweden but now is not even in the setup.
Tottenham’s season begins on August 15 when they host Premier League champions Manchester City. The following week they are away to Wolves, Santo’s old club.
Their first pre-season friendly is on August 17 against Leyton Orient.