Jose Mourinho says it is “amazing” to have Dele Alli back to his best after he scored a brilliant overhead free-kick and set up two goals in Tottenham’s 4-0 Europa League win over Wolfsberger.
Alli scored a special opener in the 10th minute and then set up both Carlos Vinicius, who added a late second, and Gareth Bale as Spurs made it through to the last 16 with an 8-1 aggregate victory over the Austrian side.
It has been a difficult season for Alli, having been frozen out by Mourinho, but he enjoyed the best night of his reintegration to the squad following a failed January transfer window exit.
There is some mitigation in the fact he was playing against the lowest-ranked opposition left in the Europa League, but it is a big step forward and Mourinho is excited by the impact he could yet have this season.
“The goal I don’t need to speak, because everyone watched it and I believe that all around the world on all these sports TV, people are going to watch it, no need to talk about it,” Mourinho said.
“But for me the globality of the performance is what matters. He played very well in every aspect of the game, he played very well.
“Of course he’s not fresh, of course you can feel that his performance like in the first leg from minute 55-60 is going to go down, which is normal due to the circumstances – injured, not training for a long time.
“But in this moment when we are going to play every three days, 10 matches in March, to have Dele back at this level is amazing.
“But I wouldn’t say Dele only. (Harry) Winks, (Moussa) Sissoko, just to give two more examples, to have them back to this level, we need more than ever.”
Mourinho is also excited by the prospect of teenage striker Dane Scarlett, who came off the bench and had a hand in Vinicius’ second goal.
In doing so, he became the first 16-year-old to produce a Europa League assist since Kylian Mbappe. While there are no comparisons being made by anyone at Spurs to the France World Cup winner, Mourinho thinks his youngster has a bright future.
“Dane has incredible talent. I don’t want to speak too much because tomorrow I arrive in the building and the kid’s boss is going to kill me,” Mourinho said.
“I don’t want that so I don’t want to speak too well about him. I just want to say that he will be 17 next month and I want him to be part of the first-team squad next season.
“So this season he is there and here, goes to training sessions with us and matches with the kids of his age and trains there. Next season he has to be a first-team player.
“Immense talent. Very good physical development. He’s very good, he’s going to be very good. I hope that nothing is going to destroy that potential. He must have feet on the ground and head on his shoulders because he has a fantastic talent.
“And to bring on the other two kids is always a pleasure because in the end it’s a motivation for everyone in the academy.”
Wolfsberger were never really in the tie from the point Spurs led 3-0 at half-time of the first leg last week, but head coach Ferdinand Feldhofer was proud of their Europa League journey.
“We are at the end of the road, it was a great season in the Europa League, and we will never forget this season,” he said.
“We have had some great moments that we will never forget and that is something we can build on. It is something we can be proud of as Wolfsberger.”