The midfielder was in the starting XI and played an important role as his side ran out comfortable winners against their eighth-tier opponents
Jose Mourinho singled out Dele Alli for special praise after Tottenham’s 5-0 FA Cup third round win against Marine on Sunday and hinted he could make his return to the Premier League fold.
Alli was involved in each of Carlos Vinicius’ three goals against the eighth-tier hosts, first teeing up for the forward and then playing a key role in the build up to the others. Lucas Moura and record-breaking 16-year-old Alfie Devine also found the net as Spurs secured a place in the next round.
Alli has been reduced to a bit-part role at Tottenham this season, having played just 75 minutes of Premier League football spread out over four matches, but the 24-year-old’s attitude on his return to the starting XI on Sunday impressed his manager, who said he could feature against Aston Villa this week.
“I am really happy with his attitude in the game, of course we didn’t want to risk much,” Mourinho said, speaking to BBC Sport. “The pitch is a bit dangerous and their enthusiasm can put the creative ones in some risk, but I am happy – good professionalism, good dynamic from him and Gedson [Fernandes] to start trying to create, so really pleased for the performance.
“He was here today and of course it was not the match to measure the quality, but the professionalism and attitude and I am very happy with it, I will not be surprised if next Wednesday, Dele is playing with us.”
Vinicius, who joined on a season-long loan from Benfica in October, had not scored for the north London club before Sunday and Mourinho was happy to see him play a crucial role, while he was proud to see Devine among the goals, too.
“It is nice for [Vinicius],” he said. “Of course, for a striker that doesn’t play a lot because in front of him is the big one – every time he has a little chance to play, like in the Europa League, he is there for us and we are very happy.
“It is good for the kid [Devine]. This season we have managed to give minutes to young guys – Dane Scarlett youngest one to play in the Europa League, now for Alfie to come to his area, he is not far from here, to make his debut and score his first goal is good for him and a good feeling for everyone at the academy.”
Spurs progressed to the Carabao Cup final on Tuesday when they beat Brentford and are now fourth in the Premier League, sitting four points behind Liverpool with a game in hand.
“Of course, in the Carabao Cup we reached the objective to be in the final. In the FA Cup this is a little first step,” Mourinho said of their campaign so far. “In the Premier League the table is a bit fake, we have had some very good results and some disappointing ones, but not bad at all.”
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