Jose Mourinho has confirmed he has spoken with Dele Alli after he failed to leave Tottenham in the January transfer window.
Alli has fallen out of favour under Mourinho and is yet to play a full game in any competition this season.
It led to speculation that he could leave the club in January, with former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino wanting to take him on loan to PSG.
Pochettino was ultimately left frustrated as Daniel Levy refused to sanction the deal without signing a replacement. Alli will now be questioning how much gametime he will get before the end of the season.
Mourinho has sent a clear message about Alli’s future, though, after revealing talks with the midfielder about getting back into the side.
The Tottenham boss said of the midfielder: “He needs to recover from his injury, return to training and have a fresh start. Because last week he couldn’t even train – so that’s the most important thing.
“I had a good conversation with him yesterday, we spoke around this question that you asked me and I think we found very common ground.
“It’s an important period of the season for the team and for him also. We need him. We need a good Dele Alli.
“We are just waiting for him to be back to a good normality.
“Dele, [Harry] Kane, [Giovani] Lo Celso, we’re talking about players that without all three we miss a little creation, some magic around the attacking areas.
“We had a conversation. Of course a conversation doesn’t put a player in great form but hopefully the motivation he needs to be back for the team.
“We are in the Europa League, the Premier League and the FA Cup although I don’t believe he’ll be back for that.
“I think when he’s physically ready he’ll be in a good frame of mind.”
Mourinho also suggested that the way Tanguy Ndombele has improved this season means Alli could play alongside him when he returns.
He added: “Before it was Tanguy or Dele, or Lo Celso or Tanguy. Now the evolution of Tanguy, his physical evolution is so good and he can defend well as well.
“He’s now able to last and it’s not about Tanguy or Dele now. It’s a good window of opportunity for them.
“Gio still will be a month, Dele is close to be back but needs to recover his fitness levels.”
Another player working his way back is striker Kane, who had to go off in Spurs’ loss to Liverpool last Thursday.
The England captain ultimately missed their defeat to Brighton, but Mourinho is hoping he will be back soon.
He said: “Good progress, he’s happy with the progress and of course we’re happy too.
“I think it’s not a very optimistic thing to say next week he should be playing, it will be just a consequence of his good evolution.
“So we’re happy. We were scared when it happened but next week we play Everton and City at the weekend. I believe for one of these matches he should be back.”
Mourinho confirms Rodon decision
Like Alli, another player who has been on the fringes at Tottenham this season is Joe Rodon.
The defender has had limited opportunities since his summer move from Swansea. He has only started four Premier League games and has not featured at all in the Europa League after being left out of the squad list.
There had been hope that the 23-year-old could be added to the list for the knockout stages. However, Mourinho confirmed he has taken the tough decision to keep him out – although he has a logical reason.
Asked if Tottenham had included Rodon in their updated European squad list, Mourinho said: “We didn’t.
“A hard decision but we wanted to show respect for the group. Wanted to show respect for the group. Very hard for the group to cope with one of the players involved to be out.
“We kept [Japhet] Tanganga in spite of good possibilities the kid had to go out on loan because then Tanganga, [Davinson] Sanchez, [Toby] Alderweireld, [Eric] Dier. We have to do it without Rodon.
“With the emotional impact it has less impact on a player who was not part of the squad to stay out than a player who was part of it, to change him. Decide to not go in that direction.
“Gedson [Fernandes] and [Paulo] Gazzaniga left but they were not in the squad. We would have had to take someone else out.”
Mourinho was speaking ahead of Tottenham’s game against Chelsea on Thursday.