Mauricio Pochettino has suggested, in comments reported by Football London, that he was pleased by Dele Alli in Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League draw, but insisted that the midfielder needs to improve over the coming weeks.
Spurs made a frustrating start to their group-stage campaign. It had appeared that they were well on their way to securing three points.
Harry Kane had opened the scoring from the penalty spot, and Lucas Moura had doubled their lead four minutes later. But Olympiakos struck back.
The Greek side managed to halve the deficit just before half-time. A penalty of their own less than 10 minutes into the second-half gave Mathieu Valbuena the chance to equalise.
It was not an impressive performance from Pochettino’s men. But there was a positive with Alli making his first start of the campaign. He had come off the bench during the North London derby, but an unused substitute at the weekend.
And while Pochettino admitted that he is expecting the 23-year-old to step his game up, he suggested that he was happy with what he saw from the Englishman in Athens.
“We are going to help and try to find the best level that he needs to start to be the same as he was,” he said, as reported by Football London.
“Today was a tough game, when the collective performance wasn’t the same and for sure it wasn’t a great game, but overall I am happy with his performance. Of course we know well, and he knows, that he needs to improve but he only needs time now.”
Alli looks to have a lot to prove this season after an underwhelming campaign – by his standards – last time out. He scored just five league goals and contributed three assists.
There were some promising signs in Greece. In particular, his tenacity was on show as he found his way into the box during the second-half and forced the goalkeeper to make a good save from his drilled shot.
Spurs fans will be hoping that there is more to come from Alli in the coming weeks. But perhaps, there was reason for cautious optimism on what proved to be a disappointing night for Tottenham.