Mauricio Pochettino has staunchly defended Dele Alli amid the criticism the Tottenham star has received in recent weeks.

Alli suffered from multiple injuries last season and struggled to gather momentum, though when fit he played some of the best football of his career, notably providing two assists in Spurs’ memorable victory at Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals.

And after suffering another injury at the beginning of the current campaign, Alli has found it difficult to rediscover his best form, leading to criticism of his performance against Liverpool last weekend. The 23-year-old has also lost his place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

But speaking ahead of this weekend’s Premier League meeting with Everton, a fixture in which Alli scored last season, Pochettino was eager to stand up for his player, insisting he will be back to his best soon.

“We need to remember that Dele is so young and the demand and the pressure on him is massive,” Pochettino said (via Football London).

“Everyone expects big things from him – he’s English, an international but he’s only 23 years old.

“He was fantastic, he’s dropped a little bit but we need to help and back him.

“He does not need to pay attention too much, he needs to be focused, improve, try and be strong again and start to perform in the way everyone expects.”

Alli has looked off the pace for some time now, and recent results haven’t helped him in his quest to gather momentum. Perhaps if the team’s form picks up, Alli’s will too.



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