Tottenham tactics: Pochettino must stick with Dele Alli

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) /
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Tottenham need Dele Alli to return to top form

Quite a few fans and pundits would like to see Tottenham drop Dele Alli from the lineup. The reality is that would be a disastrous decision by Mauricio Pochettino. The Spurs boss must persevere with his 21-year-old midfielder for the good of the club.

Former Ireland international Tony Cascarino is just one of many people who believe Tottenham should drop Dele. Their argument is that he needs time to cool off and watch his teammates play to gain some much-needed perspective. While I can understand that logic, I have to vehemently disagree.

Dele’s poor form as of late isn’t up for debate. It wasn’t just the Manchester City match where he struggled. He hasn’t found the back of the net since Spurs’ drubbing of Real Madrid in Champions League play. It’s more than that, though. Dele just hasn’t looked like himself out on the pitch for quite a while.

It’s easy to point to his reckless challenge on Kevin de Bruyne and say that he’s lost control of his actions. The reality is that Dele is at his best when he’s walking the fine line between danger and brilliance. It’s certainly not the first time he’s committed a horror challenge.

The only difference between the de Bruyne tackle and other poor challenges by Dele in the past is the form that surrounds them. If Dele’s had pocketed a hat trick against City then his poor challenge would certainly be getting less attention. The reason everyone is focused on his fouling is because there isn’t much else to examine.

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Dele’s best attribute is his self-confidence. If he fails to believe in his own abilities, even for a moment, he will become a very average football player. That’s why Pochettino must continue to play through him through his poor run of form.

He’s just the sort of player that only needs one moment of brilliance to catch fire. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he buried Burnley this week under a barrage of goals. Dele can be maddeningly inconsistent, but he also can pop up with goals with no warning.

The other reason Pochettino must stick with Dele is that he doesn’t have enough credible alternatives. Yes, the Argentine gaffer could go with countryman Erik Lamela for a match or two, but that isn’t a long-term fix. The players after Lamela on the Spurs depth chart are not good enough to provide Tottenham even temporary relief.

Next: Tottenham player ratings: Massacre at Manchester City

Dele Alli’s form may not turn around this week, but it will turn around soon enough. Pochettino must keep him in the starting XI to make sure his brilliance returns as soon as possible.