Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli has spoken publicly for the first time since he reacted badly to being substituted in Spurs’ Champions League first-leg defeat against RB Leipzig three weeks ago.
Alli, clearly angry at Jose Mourinho’s decision to take him off, threw his boots and a water bottle being sulking on the bench.
The 23-year-old, who is expected to lead the line for Mourinho’s side in tonight’s second-leg, admitted that he possibly ‘overreacted’ – but said it’s only because he cares and is always disappointed to be substituted.
The England midfielder was asked about the incident when speaking to the press ahead of the second leg in Germany.
He said: “I think you can see that I was very frustrated, everyone could see that. It’s probably something I’ve not thought about much since it happened because we switched straight back into another game.
“I was obviously disappointed to come off for many reasons. If you ask any manager since I start playing football, I’ve never liked being subbed or brought off as much as I respect the manager’s decision. I understand that. Sometimes when you’re losing a game you just have the mentality that you just want to win and be a part of it and help the team as much as you can.
” I didn’t play very well either in that game. I didn’t help the team as much as I would have liked to. To come off at 1-0 down, sometimes the passion and frustration can get the better of you. I probably should have reacted a bit better but I care a lot.”
Alli was also asked about Harry Kane, after the Spurs striker was spotted at Hotspur Way on the grass for the first time since undergoing hamstring surgery in January.
Kane, who was in attendance for the FA Cup fifth-round defeat against Norwich City last Wednesday, trained away from the group on Monday morning as he steps up his recovery from injury.
“Harry’s an amazing athlete and professional,” Alli admitted. “He’s picked up a few injuries since I’ve been here and every time he’s recovered very well. You can see how motivated and dedicated he is.
“I wasn’t surprised to see him out there. He works so hard on his game. Obviously it’s a massive boost. Even when he comes to watch the games, it’s a boost.
“He’s always speaking, trying to motivate every one which is good. He’s a real leader.
“As player who has had a few hamstring injuries, it’s a weird one because I don’t want him to rush it because I know how much it can come back, but at the same time we need him. As long as he does his recovery properly and comes back strong I’ll be happy.”