It’s been a tough season for Dele Alli of Tottenham, but Wednesday’s wonderful goal and two assists against Wolfsberger in the Europa League showed what he still has to come.
The 24-year-old midfielder has played for Jose Mourinho’s side in the Premier League only six times this season and has not started a match in the competition since being hauled off in a 1-0 loss by Everton on an opening day at half-time.
There were discussions with Mourinho about a split, relations with a move to Paris St-Germain when his season was also interrupted by a tendon injury. But when given his chance in the 4-0 win over Austrian side Wolfsberger in the last 32, Alli shone, opening the scoring with a spectacular overhead kick.
As Spurs advanced 8-1 on aggregate, Alli also set targets for Carlos Vinicius and Gareth Bale.
Will hopeful England now help revive Mourinho’s side in the hunt for Champions League qualification, with Tottenham faltering in the league?
“I don’t need to worry about the goal, because everybody was watching it, and I assume that people are going to watch it all over the world,” Mourinho said.”
“But what matters to me is the globality of the results. In every aspect of the game, he played very well.
He’s not new, of course, you can feel that his performance is always going to go down like in the first leg from minute 55 to 60, which is natural because of the circumstances – wounded, not practicing for a long time.
But it’s great at this moment when we’re going to play every three days, 10 games in March, to get Dele back at that stage.”
Alli’s third goal of the season and first since December 2020 was the spectacular shot, although he had not scored in a match he started against Burnley since March last year.
It was also the first time since 2017 that Alli was directly involved in three goals during a Tottenham match against Southampton.