Jose Mourinho has admitted that it is possible Dele Alli was distracted by rumours linking him with a move away from Tottenham in January.
Mourinho had made it his mission to recapture Alli’s previous form when he took the Spurs hot seat in November 2019, with his famous ‘are you Dele or Dele’s brother?’ quip.
However, the England international has since found himself frozen out of the Spurs first team, featuring just four times in the Premier League during the 2020/21 campaign.
He was linked with a reunion with former boss Mauricio Pochettino at PSG in January, but Spurs blocked the move – a decision that, as revealed by 90min, left Alli furious.
“There’s nothing to speak about anymore,” Mourinho told the Evening Standard. “It’s possible that he was distracted, yeah.
“It depends on the player’s mentality, how much the player is influenced by and follows the media and social media. I don’t know in his personal case. But I was expecting that this story is over. Now it’s about him working to be back in the team, to have minutes.”
Alli returned to the Spurs first team squad for their FA Cup thriller against Everton, playing the final 13 minutes of normal time plus extra time as Mourinho’s side lost 5-4.
He last started in the Premier League on the opening day of the season against Everton, and Mourinho has called on Alli to make his case for his inclusion in the Spurs starting XI on the pitch.
“When you are on the pitch, you have to show how good you are and how much you deserve to play,” the Tottenham boss added. “It’s very simple. So in this moment, everything is normal with him. He’s fit, he’s training.”
Alli will be attempting to force his way into the Spurs squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to highflying Manchester City – a side they beat 2-0 back in the heady days of November.