Darren Bent credited Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho for getting the best out of Spurs midfielder Dele Alli against West Ham on Saturday.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the former Spurs striker revealed he thought Mourinho had gone up to Alli ahead of the game and told him how good he is, which led to the midfielder wanting to show his new boss his talents.
Alli scored his second league goal of the season in the 3-2 win over the Hammers and racked up his first Premier League assist of the campaign in the game as well.
Bent suggested that Mourinho put no pressure on Alli to deliver the goods and as a result, the 23-year-old played with a sense of freedom.
When asked about Alli submitting a Man of the Match display against West Ham, Bent told Football Insider: “He looks like he is getting back to his best, the flick for one of the goals was tremendous.
“There’s that quote that he went up to Dele Alli and asked if ‘he was Alli’s brother and Alli was like no I’m Dele Alli, what are you talking about? Play like him then.’
“I don’t know how true that is but at the same time it looks like Mourinho has gone up to him said ‘I know how good you are, I’ve seen how good you are when against my teams and what I want you to get back to that and play with no pressure’
“It looked like he played with a freedom yesterday and he thought I’m going to show this manager ‘I am good player, I’ve had a lean spell but I’m going to turn it around’ and he did look like he was getting back to his best yesterday.”
Alli has played 11 times across all competitions this season, racking up two goals and registering two assists, and did see the start of his current campaign disrupted by a hamstring injury.
Spurs agreed to sign the 23-year-old playmaker from MK Dons in February 2015 and the midfielder is contracted to stay in North London until 2024 after signing a contract extension in October 2018.