Dele Alli is one of many Tottenham players who has seen his form come crashing down this season, but his manager isn’t ready to crucify his midfielder for poor performances just yet. In fact, he’s called on the fans to lift the England international up.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino made a point to remind everyone of Alli’s age at his pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of the team’s game at Goodison Park on Saturday, backing his player who has lost not only his place in the Spurs side but also the England squad as well.
“We need to remember that he’s so young and the pressure is massive,” Pochettino said. “He’s English and everybody expects big things from him but he’s still 23 years old. He was fantastic then he dropped a bit in his performance but we must back him. We have to pay attention, to focus and try to improve in the way that everyone expects.”
Considering how good they were at times last season during the club’s run to the Champions League final and a top four Premier League finish, Spurs have been comparatively awful this season, sitting in 11th with just three wins in 10 league games thus far. The defense has been especially poor, with their 15 goals conceded more than all but one team above them in the table. Alli himself has regressed mightily in both aspects of his midfield game, offering no cover to the back line behind him while simultaneously becoming sloppy in possession and toothless up front.
Alli scored a critical goal against Watford to secure a late 1-1 draw, but again proved invisible up front in the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, just his third league match thanks to the poor form and a host of injuries that have cropped up of late. Now against Everton, Pochettino hopes his team can produce a win that could jumpstart the season.
“It’s important to create the atmosphere that is going to help achieve all that you want,” Pochettino said, charging his players with the responsibility of turning the season around. “It is a situation that only we can fix by winning games. It’s our responsibility to deliver a very good performance on Sunday against a good team like Everton. Trying to win is going to be the best medicine to fix all.”