Dele Alli has hinted that former Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho tended to focus too much on the opposition when preparing for matches.
The 25-year-old fell hugely out of favour under Mourinho last season, despite being a regular starter under him when The Special One first joined the club.
However, that has all been put behind him now as he has found some inspired form to start the new season, becoming a linchpin in new Spurs coach Nuno Espirito Santo’s midfield.
Alli has taken up a role as part of a midfield three for Nuno and has played every minute in the Premier League so far, with him being trusted to put in the work both going forward and defensively.
Nuno’s arrival provided instant impact in the opening games, as Spurs were the only team to have a 100 per cent record heading into the international break, before Crystal Palace put an end to that streak.
Alli has since spoken about the changes Nuno has brought to the club following Mourinho’s departure and has revealed one aspect of preparing for matches that the former Wolves boss does differently to his compatriot.
Alli told BT Sport (as quoted by The Express): “It’s been about us, what we’re going to do and how we are going to set up rather than worrying about the opposition.
“With Mourinho, there was a lot of meetings analysing the opposition.
“The formation we are playing at the moment allows me to be more free as a box-to-box.
“I like to be the engine of the team, not just scoring goals but getting back and defending too.”
On his fitness levels last season, he said: “I didn’t feel I was where I should be. I’ve always prided myself on my fitness levels, long-distance and being able to maintain stamina for a long time.
“I knew It’s something I needed to improve on coming off the end of last season, I wanted to make sure coming into the new season I was fit and ready to go.”
On Nuno coming in, he added: “I wanted to prove to myself and I know my performance levels have been below par and that’s not good enough.
“When a new manager comes in it’s exciting but obviously it’s off the back of a bad run of form or the team not doing so well, so it gives the team a boost.”
Alli has looked a lot fitter this season and has worked harder in what is a slightly different role than what he has played in before for Spurs.
He fell out of favour quite suddenly under Mourinho for reasons we’re still not too sure about, but it is good that the hunger he has to perform is getting back. Hopefully, this continues in the long run.
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