Premier league

It’s been very tough for me – Dele Alli plans to stay in contact with Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino’s dismissal was hard to take for Dele Alli, who felt responsible for the former Tottenham manager losing his job.

Dele Alli has revealed he went to see Mauricio Pochettino after he was sacked by Tottenham, conceding he blamed himself for the Argentine’s dismissal.

Spurs relieved Pochettino of his position last Tuesday, after a dismal start to the season saw Tottenham sit 14th with 14 points from 12 Premier League games.

Jose Mourinho was appointed as Pochettino’s successor less than 12 hours later, with the former Manchester United and Chelsea manager overseeing a 3-2 win over West Ham in his first match in charge.

England midfielder Alli impressed in Saturday’s triumph, but confirmed he had been upset by the news of Pochettino’s sacking.

“I think it’s so clear what Mauricio meant to the players. He was here for five years. He helped me grow a lot,” Alli told a news conference ahead of Tottenham’s Champions League meeting with Olympiacos – their first home game under Mourinho.

“I came here as an 18-year-old and had my ups and downs here and he’s helped me through all of them. As soon as I found out the news I was very upset, but I wanted to speak to him.

“It was just a conversation between two friends. I’ve seen him more than I’ve seen my own family in the past five years so it’s been very tough for me. But things change all the time.

“We have a job to do, we’ve got to keep moving forward, but he’s going to be someone I stay in contact with. It’ll be different because he’s not my manager but he’s an amazing person who’s helped me not just in football but my life as well.

“We spoke a lot about football when he was here, but I was very upset. I couldn’t wait to speak to him and to see him. I think it was just important. Our conversation wasn’t too much about football.”

Alli acknowledged it was difficult not to feel guilty over Pochettino losing his job.

“I would be lying if I say I didn’t blame myself when it first happened rather than looking at the bigger picture,” Alli said.

“We’ve had some amazing journeys together, we grew together, all of the coaching staff and the players. We achieved a lot in terms of where we’ve come from and we’re all very thankful.

“You can’t help but feel a bit to blame because we were out there, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Now as players, we have a new manager here and we owe the club a lot as well – we have to make sure we get back in good form and win games.”

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