Dele Alli has refused to blame Jose Mourinho for the way his Tottenham Hotspur career stagnated during the former head coach’s reign and backed himself to get better than ever before under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Alli became a promising player under Mauricio Pochettino, but his form began to dwindle in the months leading up to the Argentine’s departure. Mourinho tried to inspire a reaction from him after taking over, but it did not really work. As such, the England international’s gametime dropped significantly last season.
Alli only lasted the full 90 minutes of one Premier League match, which came after Mourinho had been sacked.
His lack of opportunities led to rumours of a January exit, potentially to reunite with Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain. But no such route ever materialised. Now, Alli – still under contract until 2o24 – will hope to revive his career under new boss Nuno Espirito Santo.
Despite many perceptions from the outside about the negative relationship between Alli and Mourinho, the midfielder attaches no blame to his old manager for his decline in form.
“The only person I blame is myself,” Alli told Goal. “I should be performing at a level where it is difficult to not put me in the team or not play me. I don’t blame anyone but myself.
“Working with Mourinho was a great experience and one I learned a lot from.”
Now, though, the 25-year-old must gear himself up for a new challenge under Nuno. It took Tottenham far longer than they would have wanted to find a permanent successor for Mourinho, but the former Wolves boss recently became their man.
He was not their first choice and was even crossed off their shortlist at one point. But now, they have reconsidered and handed him the reins.
Alli aims for new heights under Nuno
Despite all the drama of the last few months, Alli is excited to get started under Nuno.
“He has done a great job at Wolves,” he said. “I am looking forward to speaking to him and working with him. He is a great manager and it is exciting times.
“I want to make this year one of the best I have had. A lot of people have said I need to find the form I was in a few years ago. For me, I don’t even want to get to that; I want to go past that and reach my full potential to be the best player I can be.
“It has been a tough few years but I have been working hard and analysing what I need to do to get better.
“I have been training a lot on most days of my holiday. I didn’t feel I needed much rest, so it is just training the whole way through.
“Everyone is looking for that extra few per cent, so you have to keep up. I am feeling good and the best I have felt in a long time.”