Dele Alli showed flashes of what he can do against Leeds, but there were just too many slack moments from the Tottenham man before he was substituted as Spurs slipped to defeat
- Tottenham lost 3-1 to Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday
- Dele Alli started the game and assisted Son Heung-min’s first half goal
- His impact on the game was limited after that and he was later substituted
Tottenham’s malaise was summed up by Dele Alli. He showed flashes of quality at Elland Road, most notably his assist for Son Heung-min, but was unable to exert any control and Leeds deserved their win.
England manager Gareth Southgate was present to see the World Cup semi-finalist substituted after 67 minutes and it appears Alli has left his run for a Euros place too late, having been out in the cold for two years.
Indeed interim manager Ryan Mason can’t even promise the 25-year-old a place in the team to face Wolves on Sunday. Alongside the clever passes, there were slack moments that could have cost Spurs. ‘He created a goal for us in the first half. As a No 10 that’s part of your job in the attacking third. It’s what you need to do,’ said Mason, with a hint of a warning.
Dele Alli was a rare part of Tottenham’s starting XI against Leeds United on Saturday
‘We’ve got many attacking players competing for places, so it’s a good training week coming up.’
Mason, only 29 himself, has a steely backbone behind the nice-guy image. He is holding the fort for a new manager and, though Tottenham’s Champions League hopes are up in smoke, he believes his successor has talent to work with.
‘My focus is on the next game but discussions about the bigger picture need to happen during the summer and I’m sure they will,’ he said. ‘There are some great characters here. It’s a big squad, a very good squad as well. The chairman and the board will have a long, hard think about the direction the club wants to go. There are definite tools to work with for next season.’
Whether those tools include Harry Kane remains to be seen. He had a goal disallowed for a tight offside at 1-1 and struck the bar but was unable to extend his slender lead in the Golden Boot race.
At the moment, seventh-placed Spurs are in the dreaded Europa Conference League spot, hardly befitting the England captain.
The midfielder struggled to have a big impact on the game and was later substituted
Gareth Bale could also return to Spain. After his hat-trick against Sheffield United, he hardly got a kick and was hooked alongside Alli.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was Tottenham’s best player, which says it all. Stuart Dallas opened the scoring for Leeds, Son levelled when Alli slotted him in, but Patrick Bamford restored home advantage on 42 minutes before Rodrigo sealed the win.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will continue to sift through managerial candidates but it’s doubtful he could land Marcelo Bielsa even if he wanted to. The Argentine is a hero in Yorkshire and Elland Road will be jumping next season if fans return and Leeds continue to play with this verve and energy.
Dallas, an unsung utility man, has been sensational in his first Premier League season at the age of 30, scoring eight times and impressing in practically every outfield position.
This result confirmed Leeds will finish the season unbeaten against the Big Six at home. ‘We were on it from the first minute with our pressing and aggression to win the ball back,’ said Dallas. ‘These big teams have world-class players so we can’t carry any passengers.’
Bielsa loves Dallas. ‘An example to us all,’ he said.
Spurs need a few like that.