Dele Alli has forgiven Raheem Sterling for the dangerous tackle that may have injured the Tottenham midfielder during Sunday’s victory over Manchester City.
Sterling escaped a red card despite his studs connecting with Alli’s leg above the ankle. The City forward was booked but VAR did not deem the challenge worthy of a dismissal. Sterling also could have received a second yellow card when he appeared to dive in the box seconds after Hugo Lloris saved Ilkay Gundogan’s first-half penalty – an incident that drew a hilarious reaction from Mourinho, whose sprint towards the fourth official has gone viral.
After the game, Mourinho suggested Alli played through the pain caused by the tackle and may have picked up an injury.
“Since that moment he was ‘can I stay on the pitch or not?’,” Mourinho said (via Football London). “Half-time same discussion, beginning of the second half the same discussion and then he realised that he couldn’t carry on.”
And later, Alli confirmed his ankle will be assessed on Monday morning and dismissed suggestions of any intent in Sterling’s challenge.
“We will see how it is on Monday, but hopefully it is not too bad,” Alli said (via FourFourTwo).
“I am not sure if it was a red to be honest, I have not had a proper look back at it, it is obviously for the referee and VAR to make the decision. They didn’t give the red card.
“We were just chatting, he is not in the best of moods, he is a winner so it was difficult. We haven’t seen each other for a while so it was nice to have a catch up.
“We were speaking about it at half-time and we are good friends. I know what sort of player Raheem is and he would never intentionally try to hurt someone.
“There are no hard feelings, he is a fantastic player and we move on.”
Tottenham face Southampton in an FA Cup replay on Wednesday and Mourinho will hope to have Alli available after failing to sign a striker in the January transfer window. That said, Steven Bergwijn proved he is a goal threat with his debut strike on Sunday.