Mauricio Pochettino has hailed Dele Alli as one of the best players in the Premier League, but is refusing to draw comparisons with any other players.
The England international scored twice as Tottenham beat Chelsea 2-0 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday to end the league leaders’ 13-match winning run and stop them from breaking Arsenal’s record for successive victories in a Premier League campaign.
Alli’s double took his tally for the season to 10, but he remains just 20 years old and, speaking in a pre-match news conference ahead of Spurs’ FA Cup tie with Aston Villa, Pochettino said: “I don’t want to compare [Alli to anyone else].
“In the last few days, a lot of comparisons with other players have appeared, but I think he is a very special player, completely different.
“He’s Dele Alli and it’s difficult to compare. His potential is massive. He has a big gap to improve, but he’s showing now unbelievable qualities and great performances.
“He’s one of the best players in the Premier League, but with the potential to improve.”
While Alli stole the headlines, Pochettino was delighted with his entire team’s performance against Chelsea, believing Spurs showed qualities that were missing in their title pursuit last season.
“It was a massive victory for us,” he said. “It’s true that it’s no more than three points, no more than another game, but, after Chelsea’s run, it is a team that is at the top. It was a good opportunity to show we have improved and learned from last season.
“I was very pleased after the game because we showed that we are very competitive. In this type of game sometimes you don’t need to play your best, but be competitive.
“It’s what we missed last season, to challenge and win the Premier League. That for me is a big statement and a big step forward, that the team need to keep that mentality.
“If you are competitive you will always be close to winning the games.
“We are in a very good position in the league after 20 games. It is a long way until the end of the season, but, if we show that we can cope with that level and be competitive, I think why not: we will be there to fight them for the title.”
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