Dele Alli will win back England boss Gareth Southgate’s trust with more showstopping turns like his goal brace at Chelsea, according to Mauricio Pochettino.
Alli provided the perfect riposte to being omitted from England’s 1-1 draw with Italy by firing two goals as Tottenham claimed their win at Stamford Bridge since 1990 on Sunday.
Christian Eriksen’s long-range bullet and Alli’s double secured Spurs’ 3-1 win in west London, that all-but tied up Tottenham’s fourth-place Premier League finish and Champions League qualification.
Spurs boss Pochettino admitted Alli had faced a “tough period” in not featuring for England against Italy – but insisted he never doubted the 21-year-old’s ability to bounce back.
“Dele is not going to be affected if he plays or doesn’t play,” said Pochettino, of Alli.
“He’s got a great character, he’s so strong, he’s a fighter; very competitive. He’s not going to be affected, but then we have to help him. If he doesn’t play for the international team he needs to fight and win trust and confidence again. The only way to do that is doing what he did today. Scoring goals and the performance he did today.
“I’m very, very pleased, it was a tough period for him: but for me I have no doubt over his talent, his character, and I am so happy for him because he deserved it, worked hard. He’s a great talent, only 21, and sometimes we lose focus on that. Sometimes the expectation is too much, and pressure on his shoulders. He doesn’t need to show anything to us, because we trust and believe in him.”
Spurs’ first win at Stamford Bridge in 31 matches in all competitions has surely inched Pochettino’s men over the line for the Premier League’s final Champions League qualification berth.
The former Southampton manager insisted Spurs cannot take anything for granted however, despite boasting an eight-point advantage over Chelsea with seven matches to play.
“There is still a long way to the end, we need to be focused,” said Pochettino. “I think there is still nothing achieved, and I’m sure it will be difficult to finish in the top four.”