Football

Spurs' Alli not worried about his fluctuating form

Spurs midfielder says it's impossible to stay at a consistently high level

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli's fluctuating form this season is only temporary and he is confident he will be able to replicate the same level of play in his first two seasons with the north London club.

The 21-year-old has scored four league goals with two more in the Champions League but has faced criticism in the first half of the season for not being as effective as he had been, reported AFP.

"Some people think if you're not scoring or assisting then you're playing badly, but I criticise myself all the time," Alli said in the Daily Mail.

"I always think I can do better, I can do more for the team, so it's just about working on myself and my own game."

Alli scored 10 league goals in 33 games in his breakthrough season at the club and followed that up with 18 in 37 appearances last term.

It's why he feels he is a victim of his own success.

He said: "At 21 years of age, when you set your standards as high as I did in the last two years, it's not always the case that you're going to be able to reach them all the time.

"People's opinions are changing all the time and you'd be more worried if the other fans like you as a player. When your own fans start disliking you, then it changes, and you think about it a bit more."

Alli produced his best performance of the season in the 5-2 defeat of Southampton on Tuesday, scoring a goal and providing two assists.

His performance left him believing he has turned a corner.

"My form is not really something I think about too much, but it's always nice to prove people wrong," he said.

These things happen in football, you’ve just got to focus on yourself and look at what you can improve every game and training session. Dele Alli, on his recent spate of reckless challenges

However, the scrutiny on Alli extends beyond his performances.

Often, his temperament has been called into question.

During Spurs' Europa League clash against Belgian club Gent in February, Alli was shown the first red card of his career for a horrible knee-high challenge on Brecht Dejaegere, prompting former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp to warn him to control his aggression.

Spurs drew the Round-of-32 second-leg match 2-2 and lost 3-2 on aggregate.

In September, he was banned for a game following England's World Cup qualifying win over Slovakia, for making an obscene gesture.

RECKLESS

During Spurs' recent matches against Manchester City and Burnley, he escaped red cards for reckless challenges on Kevin de Bruyne and Charlie Taylor, but he could not avoid criticism.

Alli said that he has spoken to manager Mauricio Pochettino about his performances and disciplinary record, and believes he has nothing to worry about.

Neither does he think he needs to alter his aggressive style.

He said: "We speak a lot. People can say what they want.

"The tackle at Burnley, you know we both went into it the same, the referee made a decision and that's the way it is.

"These things happen in football, you've just got to focus on yourself every game and look at what you can improve every game and training session."

Spurs, who are fifth in the league table, face bottom side Swansea next Tuesday.

Football