By Harry Sykes
Jamie Carragher has slammed Dele Alli for his horror challenge and claimed Tottenham would still be in the Europa League if he had stayed on the pitch.
The high profile pundit is convinced that manager Mauricio Pochettino will “privately” be thinking that the England international has let the team down when he was most needed.
Spurs were eliminated from Europe on Thursday night after failing to overcome Gent, the eighth-placed side in Belgium’s Jupiler League, at the last-32 stage.
Alli was given a straight red card in the second-leg clash at Wembley after a rush of blood that left his 10-man side needing to score two goals in 49 minutes without conceding.
Goals from Christian Eriksen and Victor Wanyama gave Spurs hope but a 2-2 draw meant they tumbled out of the competition just two months after their Champions League exit.
Carragher joined those who have widely condemned Alli’s conduct, and gave his verdict on how Pochettino would really have regarded the situation.
“It was expected that Mauricio Pochettino would come out and defend Alli (below) after his red card against Gent but privately the manager must realise what happened,” Carragher wrote in his weekly Mail column.
“Alli’s foul on Gent midfielder Brecht Dejaegere was appalling and could have easily broken his right leg.
“More than anything, though, it was his reaction and the way the red mist descended.
“It is sometimes said that Alli would not be the same if he loses the aggression from his game but that, frankly, is nonsense. He can still be a gifted, goalscoring midfielder without trying to chop an opponent in half.
“If Alli had stayed on the pitch at Wembley, Tottenham win that game and reach the last 16. He let down himself, his manager and his team when they needed him.”
Pochettino’s side will now focus their efforts on securing a top-four Premier League finish as well as pushing strongly for the FA Cup.
Tottenham are third in the league ahead of Sunday’s clash against Stoke and have a quarter-final cup draw next month against League One outfit Millwall.
In other Tottenham transfer news, a forward has signed after Spurs agreed terms on an out-of-window deal.