Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has admitted his experiment with Dele Alli did not work, but says there is “no story.”
Alli looked like the fall guy on Sunday after he was taken off at half-time for Moussa Sissoko, as Spurs opened their Premier League campaign with a 1-0 home loss.
Spurs had looked laboured in the first 45 minutes and went in goalless at the break, but the removal of Alli did not improve their fortunes as Everton scored late on to triumph.
Alli’s half-time hook has led to speculation that the former MK Dons man has fallen out with Mourinho, with reports even suggesting he could be used as a makeweight in the deal to bring Gareth Bale home.
Former Aston Villa man Gabriel Agbonlahor told talkSPORT on Tuesday: “I feel like they need a No 10 as well because I’m hearing from a good source that Dele Alli and Mourinho have fallen out.”
Agbonlahor elaborated on Wednesday’s talkSPORT Breakfast show: “We’ve seen it so many time with Jose Mourinho, he can kill players.
“He has done it at every club he’s been at. At Man United, he tried to do it with Pogba and Shaw.
“I feel that Dele Alli could be his new target. You see what he did with Danny Rose, which was a disgrace and he’s still Spurs’ best left-back.
“I feel with Dele Alli, something has happened there between them. From what I heard, he wasn’t even meant to start the Everton game.
‘”Steven Bergwijn had a migraine in the warm-up or before the game and that’s why Alli started.”
Mourinho was asked about the situation at his press conference on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s date with Lokomotiv Plovdiv.
“The change at half-time was not the first time I’ve done that in my career. I did that with Eric Dier against Olympiacos,” said Mourinho.
“When I do these things I always do it for the team. In some cases the option was choosing right, in others it was proven wrong.
“In this case it didn’t work and the team wasn’t better in the second half. That’s my job to make decisions. There is no story. There is no cases.”
Kane to start
Meanwhile, Tottenham trained with a full squad ahead of their European trip to Bulgaria.
Giovani Lo Celso was present after he missed Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Everton with a hamstring injury. Serge Aurier picked up a little knock in training, but there were no injuries from Sunday.
The likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura were all present as boss Mourinho looks set to travel with a strong squad. Kane will lead the line in Bulgaria.
Mourinho says Tanguy Ndombele is not fit enough to start, but his process is a “positive” one.
While the Spurs boss was also asked whether the opening-day defeta had changed anything with Daniel Levy.
Mourinho replied: “I give my vision in a written document three or four times since I arrived. Mr Levy will make decisions and my reports are based on my knowledge and experience and one result won’t change my thoughts from months ago.”