Hugo Lloris praises ‘professional’ way Dele Alli has earned his place back at Tottenham

The attacking midfielder’s two league starts have come almost six months apart

Jonathan Veal
Friday 05 March 2021 18:53
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Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris has praised Dele Alli for the way he reset after being stopped from leaving the club in January.

Alli was keen to depart Spurs during the recent transfer window having been frozen out by Jose Mourinho in the first half of the season, with former boss Mauricio Pochettino keen to take him to Paris Saint-Germain on loan.

The 24-year-old was told to stay in north London and has since reintegrated into the team, making his first Premier League start since the opening day of the season in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Fulham.

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Lloris said Alli has kept his professionalism and that the best is still to come.

“Well, I don’t want to talk about January. It’s his personal situation and I don’t want to talk on behalf of the club, I’m not the right person to do it,” the France goalkeeper said.

“As a team-mate, he’s always been professional, he put his disappointment on the side and from day one in the second part of the season, after the transfer market closed, he switched on and he started to step-by-step improve his fitness and get as much confidence as he can.

“Now he’s coming back and that’s good for the team and obviously the best for the season is ahead of us.”

Spurs clawed their way back into the Premier League top four race with three points at Fulham, though they were lucky to get them.

After bossing the first half and going in front through Tosin Adarabioyo’s own goal, they retreated after the break and had VAR to thank for disallowing Josh Maja’s equaliser following a controversial handball in the build-up.

They are now five points adrift of fourth place Chelsea but, after winning back-to-back games for the first time since November, Lloris says anything is possible.

“For some reason there has been ups and downs in our performance,” he added. “But we’re still looking forward to improve things and get better.

“And you know, we still believe we can finish high in the table, we’re still in the race. But it’s difficult obviously.

“We’ve missed points but with 12 games to go anything is possible and we need to believe.

“The confidence is coming back into the team so that’s one point that’s very important. And obviously when you see important players coming back, like Dele and Gareth (Bale) again...for different reasons they could not play at the level they wanted to help the team [previously] but it was the case [that they did] and that’s good for the team and for the club.”

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Spurs can help their top-four chances further by beating Crystal Palace on Sunday night.

Mourinho expects to have Serge Aurier back but Giovani Lo Celso will miss out with a hamstring injury.

“Serge I believe yes,” he said when asked whether Aurier will be fit. He had that injury then he played the last match until minute 75 when he started feeling his calf again. He doesn’t have an injury, he has not the best feelings after a muscular injury. So I believe he is, I believe.

“But to be honest I was so happy with Matt Doherty’s performance at Fulham. Gio, I don’t think so for Sunday, but there is maybe an opportunity for Europa League on Thursday.”

PA

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