Jose Mourinho has denied that he has “personal issues” with Dele Alli after reducing the Tottenham midfielder’s gametime in recent months.
Alli has barely featured for Spurs in the Premier League this season, but has been a regular in the Europa League.
After a strong showing in the win over Ludogorets, the England international was again not part of the squad for the weekend game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
But Mourinho insisted: “I don’t have any problem with Dele, I don’t have any problem with any one of the players. It’s not about that.
“I’m really happy I don’t have personal issues with any one of my players. But of course players are happier when they play, they’re not happy when they don’t play. I don’t blame the players, it’s just the way it is.
“Again there is only one way to improve their situation, which is to work hard every day and to use every minute they’re on the pitch to try to improve their situation but fundamentally the concept that is above everything is that the team is more important than any one of us.
“A simple example is Ben Davies. Against Chelsea he had to play five minutes. Last season he would be playing 90, this season on the bench.
“He played the last five minutes like it was the last five minutes of his career. Why? Because the team is the most important thing.
“So these are the players that I want, the players that feel and behave like the team is the most important thing and ‘me personally, I’m not important’.”
Spurs only need a point against LASK at Linzer Stadion to qualify for the last 32 and, despite being in the middle of a tricky run of fixtures, Mourinho’s only focus at the moment is on the Austrian side.
He said: “We don’t weaken the team because the Premier League match is more important than the previous one.
“We had Chelsea last week and before Chelsea we had Ludogorets and we weren’t thinking about Chelsea.
“We made the changes that we thought we had to make and to give some players some chance that they deserved. So in this moment Arsenal is not in our mind.”
Mourinho promises strong team against Marine
Tottenham are fighting on three fronts currently and sit top of the league, on the verge of reaching the Europa League knockout phase and with a Carabao Cup quarter-final tie at Stoke coming up later this month.
Spurs will turn their attention to the FA Cup in January, when they travel to eighth-tier Marine in round three.
Mourinho has promised to take a strong squad to Rossett Park, adding: “I’d love to play in that small stadium. That, for sure, means a lot for the home fans and for the players, the coach, everybody.
“The best way to respect them is to take the team, the players that they want to play against and we’re going to respect them and respect the competition.”