Dele Alli started behind Lucas Moura for Tottenham Hotspur in their 1-0 loss to RB Leipzig. The England international struggled to link up with Moura and was ineffective before being substituted after 64 minutes.
Dele Alli Needs to Adapt During Tottenham Hotspur’s Striker Crisis
José Mourinho has no recognised striker at the club currently. Son Heung-min and Moura have deputised for Harry Kane, who remains out until April with a hamstring injury. Son’s injury against Aston Villa last weekend leaves Moura and Alli as the only viable, senior options.
However, Alli was visibly frustrated once substituted by Mourinho. His poor performance shows he needs to adapt in order to help Spurs through their striker crisis.
Dele Alli Must Adapt for Spurs
A poor performance clearly affected Alli’s temperament against Leipzig. The 23-year-old threw a water bottle and his boots on the Spurs bench after being substituted.
Mourinho suggested Alli’s frustrations were with his performance rather than being substituted. The Portuguese manager also stated how the team performed better when Alli came off.
Alli’s frustrations may have come from the link-up play with Moura. The 23-year-old performed well in the past with Kane as the lone striker. But, Moura’s style of running in behind as opposed to the hold-up play offered by Kane doesn’t suit Alli.
The lack of familiarity between Moura may have also led to a lack of understanding between the pair. Before Son’s injury, Alli and the South-Korean were creating chances in the 3-2 win over Aston Villa. The pair had 12 shoots combined during the game and completed three key passes throughout the game.
Alli and Moura must adapt to find a way to link up effectively if they are to carry the attacking burden for Spurs.
Alli has scored seven goals and made four assists this season. Despite his goal-scoring capabilities, he is not a striker. He is known for his creativity, late runs into the box and running at defenders face on.
Mourinho has mentioned in the past about Alli adapting to ‘associate with the attacking players’, suggesting he needs to get into more attacking positions for the team.
Against Leipzig, Alli had no shots and had the least amount of touches on the pitch during his 64 minutes. Mourinho must find a way of playing Alli where he can receive the ball to create, but also where he can get into the box without the ball.
Moura would is currently the more suitable option to play as a striker for Spurs. The Brazilian has played eight games in this position throughout the season. Although not a proven goal scorer, Moura provides the work rate and pace to press the opposition without the ball.
Spurs’ only other option is 18-year-old Troy Parrott. Mourinho explained that the youngster wasn’t ready to come into the starting 11 currently, but he would provide an alternative option to the Alli behind Moura combination.
Parrott made his senior debut in the EFL Cup against Colchester United in September. He then made his first Premier League appearance in December in the 5-0 win over Burnley. The Irish striker has been on the bench five times for Spurs. He trains with the senior squad so it seems unusual that Mourinho doesn’t take a chance with him.
Japhet Tanganga came into the starting 11 in similar circumstances recently, making his debut against Liverpool in January following injuries in defence for Spurs. While Harry Kane also flourished at the back end of the 2013/14 season when given a chance by Tim Sherwood, scoring in three consecutive games and then leading the line in the following season.