Mauricio Pochettino has praised Dele Alli for his reaction to being hit by a bottle during Wednesday’s north London derby.
Spurs ran out 2-0 winners at the Etihad thanks to goals from Alli and Son Heung-min, booking their place in an EFL Cup semi-final against Chelsea.
Midway through the second half, a bottle thrown from the home crowd struck Alli on the head – the midfielder was visibly affected and gestured the scoreline towards a section of the Arsenal support.
Pochettino, who picked up his first victory at the Emirates as Tottenham boss, has praised Alli for keeping his emotions in check.
“It was an amazing reaction,” Pochettino said in a press conference on Thursday (via the London Evening Standard).
“In another country maybe the player’s going to go down and create a big problem. Dele was so honest and professional and he behaved really well. His behaviour was top.
“I think the Arsenal people, the club, must be grateful to him because maybe in different situations the player can go down and create a massive problem and that should be very difficult to manage, to handle, for the referee, for the people there.
“Sometimes people criticised him in the past in some actions during games but it’s good now to praise him because his behaviour was top. Of course he’s more mature now but still he’s a kid, he’s so young. But he’s so clever and he’s more mature now, and it’s normal, all the process.
“We’re all growing and learning. But I think it’s a situation that when I think of that I hate this type of situation, this action. I know very well that Arsenal are going to take the responsibility and fix the problem but of course we need to praise Dele because his behaviour was fantastic.”
Alli finished the game with a goal and assist in a sensational performance playing in-behind Lucas Moura and Son.
A piece of quick thinking and a pinpoint pass from Alli put Son through for the opener, and the 22-year-old latched onto substitute Harry Kane’s through-ball to lob over Petr Cech for the second.
Spurs face Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League this weekend.