Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino praised Dele Alli’s performance as Spurs advanced to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup on Wednesday night, overcoming their north London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates.
Pochettino’s side dominated proceedings at the Emirates in a fiery contest that saw goalscorer and man of the match Alli get hit in the head with a plastic bottle thrown by Arsenal fans.
Following the victory it was announced that Spurs had been drawn against yet another London side, Chelsea, who beat Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge courtesy of a late Eden Hazard goal to book their place in the last four.
Speaking in the post-match press conference (as quoted by Football.London) after his side’s win, Pochettino stated: “Of course I think the performance was so solid and of course you need some luck in some actions.
“I thought our keeper was fantastic, Paulo, and in the end we scored from outstanding actions like from Sonny or Harry Kane with Dele Alli of course.”
Alli gave a man-of-the-match performance, setting up Son for the first goal and scoring the second himself, and Pochettino has revealed the nature of the star’s qualities, adding: “I think I explained before, Dele is very competitive.
“He loves to compete. I explained to you that in easy situations he gets bored easily. In training he gets bored easily if you don’t put in opposition and you push him to compete, because he’s an animal, a competitive animal.
“When he feels so comfortable when he’s in a very competitive space and situation he always gives his best. Yes, that is a quality he has and you cannot buy that in the supermarket of course.”
Alli was struck by a plastic bottle allegedly thrown by an Arsenal fan in the 73rd minute, and Pochettino has called on Arsenal to take action, saying: “I hope that Arsenal take responsibility and through the camera they can identify because it wasn’t a problem but it can happen to be a big problem, some big issue and how are we going to fix it?
“I think Arsenal are going to take some responsibility to identify the people. I cannot say nothing, because always for one cannot pay one million.”
Spurs will face Chelsea in the semi-finals, in what will be yet another clash between London sides, and Pochettino admitted that it won’t be easy, saying: “[It is] A very difficult draw, another London derby. We have already played Watford, West Ham and Arsenal.
“We shall see, Chelsea are a great team but we are excited. To be in the semi-final is fantastic for us.”
Tottenham have until Sunday to catch their breath, as they face Everton away before their Boxing Day fixture against Bournemouth.