It’s been some week for Jose Mourinho – but it’s been a better one for Dele Alli.
The self-styled ‘Humble one’ has masterminded three victories – one in a derby – and back-to-back triumphs in the Premier League.
Qualification for the knock-out stages of the Champions League has been secured – of course it has.
And at the heart of all of those triumphs has been England’s forgotten star, Alli.
Two goals and one assist showed the extent to which Mourinho has positively affected his player’s form. The fact the Portuguese has clear plans for him too should not go unnoticed.
“I don’t need to speak about him,” said Spurs’ new boss, teeing up a long monologue, “the best thing that can happen as a coach is when you don’t need to speak about a player.
“Everyone else speaks about him. For the right reasons. He’s playing really, really well. I couldn’t ask any more from him.
“Before I arrived, I didn’t know the boy. I only played against him a few times. I know his quality. And I know a player of such quality is not performing at a high level.
“I find him a good guy in the group. Not a selfish person that thinks only about himself. Not at all.
“He’s a Spurs boy, a group boy. He’s from a good family. I feel it now that his self-esteem is coming up.”
Interestingly, it appears that Mourinho also has plans to continue cultivating that talent.
He added: “For me, Dele is not a midfield player. He’s not a player to play a position in midfield, he needs to be close to Harry, having the freedom to associate with the attacking players..this is the best position for him.”
Alli scored two goals that were the product of long passes by Toby Alderweireld. Heung-Min Son set the first into his path in the 21st minute and a few moments after the re-start, the goalscorer himself collected a ball from in-between Jack Stacey and Steve Cook before slotting his second.
A magnificent, sweeping move then saw Son feed Alli who crossed for Moussa Sissoko to acrobatically volley home the third with 20 minutes to go. It was the French international’s first strike in the top-flight for over two years.
Bournemouth kept going, gambling by pushing forwards and were rewarded with two goals from sub Harry Wilson’s left foot. The first was a trademark free-kick, the second came in the dying seconds from Arnaud Groeneveld’s pull-back.
Cherries’ boss Eddie Howe called it right, saying: “The key moments were the first two goals in the game. You have to defend those positions better. We didn’t. The third goal you have to hold your hands up, it was a great move.
“At three-down it’s difficult. In general, the lads played well today. You saw what we are capable of, but we need to show it over 90 minutes.”
As for Mourinho, the mind-games are clearly in evidence, too. Back-to-back victories – the club’s first in the top-flight since April – mean Spurs are up to fifth, six points behind Chelsea in fourth.
Mourinho said: “When I arrived, we were 12 points behind the Champions League positions. We were eight or nine away from a Europa League position. If we thought too much about it, we would be depressed. We want to play European football next season.
“We are going into a period with a lot of matches, you have match, match, match you have a chance to put pressure on your opponents. If we played (Chelsea) tomorrow we would play them with six points difference but we play them at the end of December. We have to keep close. As close as possible.”
They sang Alli’s name from the stands. And Sissoko – who ‘scores when he wants’
They’re not yet singing Mourinho’s. Much more of this and they will be.