On Wednesday night, in the Carabao Cup quarter-final, Dele Alli returned to the Tottenham Hotspur starting XI, but manager Jose Mourinho was not particularly pleased with the success of the midfielder. Since 26 November, the England international was making its first start and it came in a 3-1 win over Stoke City to book a place in the semi-finals, where Spurs will take on Brentford. It was a rare opportunity for Alli to prove his worth to Mourinho, who for most of this season took him out of the first-team action, but it looks like he struggled to do so.
In the build-up to Stoke equalizing early in the second half, the 24-year-old gave the ball away and was replaced in the 66th minute, before Ben Davies and Harry Kane secured the winning goals.
After the match, Mourinho was still troubled by Alli giving the ball away and felt he was causing issues for his team. ‘A player is a player in that role who has to communicate and build and not create problems for his team,’ Mourinho said.
‘An objective counter-attack would end with a goal in that case, and it ended with a counter-attack behind our defenders. We were unbalanced because you have full-backs out wide and another midfielder in a different line when you are in possession and they caught us in a counter-attack and transformed the outcome of the game that was completely in our hands, so yeah, I’m angry.’
Gareth Bale started the game and opened the scoring, but was replaced by Heung-min Son at half-time. There was no rage from Mourinho here, though, with the Portuguese confirming that it was due to the Welshman’s injury.