Jose Mourinho did not shield Dele Alli from criticism after the out-of-favor attacker made several errors in Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-1 win over Stoke City in a League Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Dele wowed fans with a double nutmeg dribble and had two chances saved by Stoke keeper Andy Lonergan in 66 minutes. He had only played 16 minutes this month prior to Wednesday’s start, his first since Nov. 26 in the Europa League.
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The 24-year-old England international also gave away possession to Stoke on the Potters’ second-half equalizer, and was subbed for Erik Lamela before Ben Davies and Harry Kane scored in the final 20 minutes to put Spurs into the semifinal draw.
Mourinho was asked about his visible anger with Dele after the concession.
“For me a player that plays in that position is a player that has to link and create and not to create problems for his own team,” Mourinho said. “In that situation, an objective counter-attack would probably end with a goal, and it ended with a counter-attack behind our defenders. We were unbalanced because when you are in possession you have full-backs out wide and another midfielder in a different line and they caught us in a counter-attack and they transformed the result of the game that was totally in our hands, so yes I am upset.”
Dele’s time is limited under Mourinho, who isn’t going anywhere with Spurs two wins from a trophy, onto the Europa League knockout rounds, and in the thick of a Premier League title fight.
Mourinho had already made one attacking sub when he removed Dele for Erik Lamela. Gareth Bale scored in the first half but did not come out for the second with what Mourinho called a calf injury.
“Was his decision,” Mourinho said. “Something he felt in the last part of the first half and he didn’t want to come out before the second half so he stayed. While he was walking to the dressing room he told me immediately that he couldn’t come for the second half.”