LONDON: Jose Mourinho hopes a talk he had with injured Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli will act as a spark for a return to his old form when he is fit again.
The 24-year-old England international has been a shadow of the player who impressed at the 2018 World Cup and when Spurs reached the Champions League final in 2019.
He has rarely sparkled since the Portuguese took over in November 2019 after Mauricio Pochettino was sacked.
Alli has made just five starts all season, none of which have come in the league since the opening weekend of the campaign.
Mourinho’s desire for a revived Alli is all the more urgent as Spurs form has faltered alarmingly.
Having topped the table at the beginning of December, they have won just two of their past nine league games and are six points adrift of the four Champions League spots.
Tottenham host Chelsea on Thursday with their opponents seemingly having received a boost from the arrival of Thomas Tuchel as manager replacing the sacked Frank Lampard.
“He (Alli) needs to recover from his injury,” said Mourinho at his eve of match press conference.
“He needs to get back to training and have a fresh start because in the last few weeks he couldn’t even join in training.
“I had a good conversation with him yesterday (Tuesday).
“It’s an important season for the team. It’s an important period of the season for him also.
“We need a good Dele Alli. We are waiting for him to be back to normality.”
Mourinho said Tottenham lacked the creativity Alli can bring to the side.
“We miss some creation or some magic around the attacking areas so we need him back and I made that very sure to him,” said Mourinho.
“Of course a conversation doesn’t make miracles.
“It doesn’t put a player in great form without limitations in terms of fitness, but I believe the conversation was the extra motivation he needed to be back as soon as possible.
“I believe that when physically he is ready I believe that mentally he will be in a good place to go for it.”
Mourinho will face his old club Chelsea without his most potent weapon striker Harry Kane, who like Alli is injured.
Kane has scored or assisted 23 of Tottenham’s 34 Premier League goals this season.
However, Mourinho says the striker is making progress and could be back sooner than expected, which is good news for the team as they have a packed schedule.
Tottenham are still involved in the Europa League, FA Cup and tantalisingly are within one win of their first silverware since 2008 when they play Manchester City in the League Cup final at the end of April.
“He is happy with the progress and of course we’re happy too,” said Mourinho.
“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 (Manchester) City at the weekend.
“I believe for one of these matches he should be back.” – AFP