Jose Mourinho has often been criticised for failing to promote young players at various clubs he has managed, but Tottenham Hotpsur will soon find out this is not true.
Dele Alli is still just 23 years of age, quite remarkable considering his wealth of experience at the top level, and he looks set to find out firsthand how Mourinho’s work with young players is tremendously underrated.
Spurs take on Bournemouth at home on Saturday at 3pm and you can hear how Mourinho gets on in his first Premier League home game as manager on talkSPORT.
Barring injuries, Dele is set to be one of the first names on the Portuguese’s teamsheet for the visit of the Cherries given his return to form.
Mario Balotelli, Alvaro Morata, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Scott McTominay are all evidence to refute claims Mourinho does not care about youth. And Alli looks set to be the latest name of starlets to excel under the manager.
So what has the former Chelsea and Manchester United manager done to inspire this change and why has it had such instant success?
Below, talkSPORT.com will break down what Mourinho has done to spark an upturn in the England international’s form.
Against West Ham United, Mourinho’s first game since replacing Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs adopted a 3-4-2-1 formation when in possession. With Serge Aurier considered a more attack-minded full-back than Ben Davies, the Ivory Coast international shifted up.
Davies’ move inside to play at a back three essentially allowed Spurs to play with four in midfield, with two able to sit deep to prevent the counter-attack.
The greatest benefit of this meant, for the first time in around 18 months, Alli was able to play with freedom in an advanced position behind Harry Kane and with Lucas Moura creating space with his selfless runs.
The advantage of this was instantly apparent, with the midfielder constantly getting fed the ball in dangerous areas away from England colleague Declan Rice and was able to feed Kane – creating two chances early on.
Towards the end of Pochettino’s reign, Alli was overloaded with more defensive work because of a lack of options in midfield. The departure of Mousa Dembele created a chasm in the engine room which Pochettino failed to plug.
However, now in a more advanced role, Alli is able to get into the box to take chances and drift in behind the lines to make them.
When Spurs demolished Mourinho’s Manchester United side in August 2018, he was deployed in a deeper role to crowd out United’s midfield. It worked superbly, but started a trend of the Pochettino’s reign saw the midfielder move further and further away from his more comfortable attacking role.
In the 2016/17 Premier League season, Alli scored 18 goals and recorded eight assists in a formation not too dissimilar from the one used by Mourinho in the East End of London last weekend.
If Spurs are to continue to revel in this post-Pochettino hangover, getting Alli into dangerous positions will be of huge benefit.
Not only does he have the attacking ability and predatory instincts in front of goal, but he can create space for the likes of Harry Winks and Christian Eriksen to orchestrate the tempo of games to their liking.
Bournemouth were pulled apart last weekend by Wolves in midfield, with Joao Moutinho running riot. Mourinho will have watched his countryman with glee, knowing Dele Alli has the ability to wreak yet more havoc on Eddie Howe’s side.
Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT as we bring you THREE live Premier League commentaries across our network, including Tottenham vs Bournemouth at 3pm
Jose Mourinho has often been criticised for failing to promote young players at various clubs he has managed, but Tottenham Hotpsur will soon find out this is not true. Dele Alli is still just 23 years of age, quite remarkable considering his wealth of experience at the top level, and he looks set to find […]