Dele Alli

Dele Alli
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Dele after Champions League exit: ‘We have to fight. We can’t hide.’

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Dele Alli was one of many Tottenham players to struggle mightily in a 3-0 second leg loss to RB Leipzig that sent Spurs out of the UEFA Champions League.

“We had to show our maturity and fight and we didn’t do that,” he said.

[ MORE: Mourinho reaction ]

Dele had nothing going as Spurs fell 4-0 on aggregate, winning just seven of 22 duels according to SofaScore while managing a single off-target shot and failing to complete a dribble.

Contrast that to his performance in last season’s memorable comeback over Ajax in the UCL semifinals, collecting two assists.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“It’s devastating,” Dele said. “We had belief before the game and we didn’t perform and this is the Champions League and if you don’t step up, you’re going to be punished.”

Dele refused to use the club’s myriad injuries in attack as an excuse, as Steven Bergwijn, Harry Kane, and Heung-Min Son all missed out.

“This is Tottenham and the players who come in have to step up and we haven’t done that,” he said. “Just gutted. We have to apologize to the fans, they traveled all this way to go out and lose like that.

“We have to fight. We can’t hide. We know this hasn’t been a good season for us. We have to keep fighting. Games like this brings you down to reality. Reality is we’re in a bad situation that we have to turn around and we’re the only ones who can do it. Confidence is gone at the minute.”

It sure is, and Spurs’ UCL future is in jeopardy. Tottenham plays Manchester United at the weekend and would drop seven points back of the fifth-place Red Devils with a loss.

Leipzig dismisses disheveled Spurs from Champions League

Tottenham Hotspur
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Marcel Sabitzer scored twice as RB Leipzig didn’t give Tottenham Hotspur’s comeback bid a chance in a 3-0 win at RB Arena in Germany on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Emil Forsberg added an 87th-minute goal to complete the scoring and leave the tie 4-0 on aggregate.

Leipzig advances to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal for the first time, while Spurs’ campaign to return to the final dies with a whimper.

[ MORE: Dele reacts | Mourinho, too ]


Three things we learned

1. Spurs go in 11 different directions: Okay, so this is a bit of an exaggeration, but the amount of times Spurs players went for glory over the smart play or chose the wrong run was almost overwhelming. Whether it be an extra touch for four with a dribble or a 25-yard shot with little hope of troubling the keeper, Spurs were both frustrated for space or tempted to think there was more of it. Almost every forward move with a modicum of promise featured these sorts of mistakes.

2. Clinical Leipzig put it to bed early: An early goal from Spurs would’ve put this tie on its ear, and Julian Nagelsmann men knew that. Leipzig came out of the gates with purpose and intensity, turning Spurs’ midfield and defense inside out. It didn’t help that Hugo Lloris was not at his best.

3. Adams makes long-awaited Champions League debut: A season-long battle with injuries meant Tyler Adams’ 55th-minute entrance for Nordi Mukiele was his first-ever UCL appearance. Adams played a role in the third goal, and finished his shift with 32 touches and a tackle. He was 3-for-3 on duels and 2-for-2 on dribble attempts.

Man of the Match: Well, it’s Sabitzer or bust, isn’t it?


Leipzig’s first goal was well-earned, as Spurs were all over the place by the time Sabitzer opened the scoring with a fine finish of a Timo Werner pass.

Werner thought he had it 2-0 off an Angelino assist, but the linesman’s flag was up. Sabitzer provided that goal from the same provider in the 21st.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A goofy bounding ball forced Hugo Lloris to get horizontal and slap a ball free of the cage before halftime. Spurs finished the first half with a single shot on target.

There was a very scary injury to Nordi Mukiele in the the 54th minute after he was struck in the face by a loose ball. He was stretchered off the pitch.

Lucas Moura blazed around the left flank to cut back for Dele Alli in the 74th, but Peter Gulacsi was in the right spot to catch the ball.

Adams saw his shot blocked but Forsberg blasted in the rebound to finish the scoring in Germany.

Champions League preview: Spurs, Valencia face deficits

UEFA Champions League
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Tottenham Hotspur made club history last season with a run to the Champions League final, but needs a big result Tuesday to keep hope of returning to that stage.

Spurs trail RB Leipzig 1-0 after one leg and are headed to Germany with the knowledge that multiple goals are a must.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Doing that without Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, and now Steven Bergwijn is a tall ask.

Dele Alli has been leading the line for Jose Mourinho in recent weeks, and the English attacker is growing in confidence. That’ll be needed as he faces the joint-toughest defense in the Bundesliga.

From Football.London:

“We have to score two goals and play well and then going into the league at the weekend we have to pick up as many points as we can. We can’t keep letting opportunities slip away from us.”

If Spurs have significant work on hand to flip their result, Valencia has a doctoral thesis.

Serie A side Atalanta takes a 4-1 lead to Valencia, but is aware that the La Liga outfit has scored three or more goals thrice this season and will be playing for pride in front of its home crowd.

There’s also the matter of coronavirus, which has dominated Italian sports and is now making its way through Spain.

Here’s Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini. From Football-Italia:

“Being here is like being at home a month ago. We arrived here safely. It’s very different here compared to Italy,” Gasperini said. “We need to make assessments in terms of health but also from a social point of view: playing behind closed doors, like yesterday, even in a context that nobody likes, could be of comfort to the people locked up in the house. However the priority remains the health of the people.”

Both matches kick off at 4 p.m. ET.

Spurs: Kane trains, but Bergwijn season in jeopardy

Harry Kane
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The Tottenham Hotspur boss will find it hard to repress a smile knowing that star striker Harry Kane is back on the training pitch following a long injury absence.

But he’ll also be lamenting yet another injury to his attack corps.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Kane hasn’t played since a New Year’s Day loss to Southampton led to hamstring surgery, but has 17 goals in 25 matches this season.

He’s missed eight Premier League matches, five FA Cup outings, and the first leg of Spurs’ Champions League Round of 16 tie with RB Leipzig.

Teammate Dele Alli is excited at the prospect of Kane’s return. From Football.London:

“It’s a massive boost. Even when he’s coming to games to have him speaking, he’s a leader. Having had hamstring injuries, I don’t want him to rush it, but I know we need him as well.”

However, there’s bad news for Spurs this Monday, as January signing Steven Bergwijn is facing some time on the sidelines.

Bergwijn suffered a “significant” ankle sprain against Burnley this weekend, the team announced, and faces “an extended period of rehabilitation.”

“I don’t expect him to play again this season,” Mourinho said.

That means Spurs will have to overturn its 1-0 first leg UCL deficit without Kane, Heung-Min Son, and Bergwijn. That’s a tall ask.

Burnley, Spurs split spoils at Turf Moor

Burnley v. Tottenham Hotspur recap and video highlights
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Chris Wood and Dele Alli scored as Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur split the points at Turf Moor on Saturday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Burnley is now unbeaten in seven Premier League outings and sits 10th on 39 points.

Spurs are two points clear of Burnley, but will finish the weekend at least four points back of the top four.

Tottenham gets its first result in five outings with the draw.


Three things we learned

1. Lo Celso changes the game: Tottenham was absolutely dreadful in the first half, and Burnley’s lead was well-earned. Jose Mourinho took out a pair of center midfielders and introduced Giovani Lo Celso, who was very good from Moment No. 1 and drove the play that led to Spurs’ penalty.

2. Burnley bolsters UEL hopes: The Clarets have a point or better in seven-straight league matches. While they failed in a bid to leapfrog Spurs, Sean Dyche‘s men are three points back of the top seven. Could tiny Burnley really make two European runs in three seasons?

3. Lucky Dele: Jose Mourinho again deployed Dele Alli as a center forward, and the player struggled in the first 45 minutes. Dele’s pass completion rate was barely above 50 percent and he lost all of his nine duels. His penalty finish was cool, though, and may jumpstart his stagnant month ahead of Bayern Munich.

Man of the Match: Burnley’s Dwight McNeil was consistent and thrilling on the wing, producing the match’s lone assist.


Chris Wood rocketed a 17-yard shot over the bar early to send a warning to Hugo Lloris and Co.

A Jay Rodriguez header off from the back post led to an unholy scramble in the box minutes later, but Spurs again cleared the danger.

It was all foreshadowing; Burnley went ahead when Dwight McNeil got two chances to send in a cross that bounded to Rodriguez. His laser was saved by Lloris but Wood pounced on the rebound for 1-0.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs got a chance to level the score as Lo Celso paid immediate dividends. The Spanish midfielder stole the ball and played a wonderful ball to Lamela, who was cut down by Ben Mee inside the edge of the box.

Dele Alli strode to the spot and stroked the ball past Nick Pope for his 50th Premier League goal.

Burnley had a strong chance when Matej Vydra was slid into the box, but Eric Dier intervened to push the ball away from danger.

Lo Celso then led a 60-yard charge upfield that fell apart when Dele couldn’t get the ball through traffic.

Wood then thumped a shot to Lloris, who was wise to the bounce. Vydra then knocked down a ball for Wood that the Kiwi hit to Lloris in the 81st.

Lo Celso came close to bending a shot inside the far corner a minute later.

A funny bounce forced Lloris to make a prime save of Vydra after the latter’s shot took a turn off the bottom of Toby Alderweireld‘s boot.