Tottenham's Dele Alli says he will never apologise for his aggression
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 20/03/17 5:09pm
Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli insists he will never apologise for his aggressive streak but says he has calmed down this season.
Alli scored his fourth goal in as many games in the 2-1 win over Southampton on Sunday and the 20-year-old insists he has learned from his mistakes.
The England international was sent off for a rash challenge in the Europa League against Gent last month while he was banned last season for three matches for punching West Brom's Claudio Yacob.
"I think I've definitely calmed down a bit but it's important, I'm never going to take that out of my game," Alli said.
"I'm never going to say sorry for wanting to win or trying as hard as I can but things happen and you have to learn from them. I always want to win.
"The manager knows that's who I am. He knows I'm not going to change no matter what. We've had a few talks and he's been very supportive so it's nice to have a manager that backs you like he does.
"I'm still young, I'm 20 years old, there will always be lots of up and downs in football, that's the way it is. But when things don't go my way I've just got to try to learn from them and keep improving."
Alli arrived from MK Dons as a central midfielder but Mauricio Pochettino has preferred using him in a more advanced role, either on the left of an attacking three or more centrally behind the striker.
With Harry Kane out injured, however, Alli played centre forward for a spell in the second half against Southampton but he does not see himself moving into that role in the future.
"No I enjoy playing in the number 10 but I'm happy to play anywhere in this team," Alli said.
"If the manager wants to push me a bit higher in some games I'm happy to do that but I am a midfielder so I enjoy playing everywhere."
Alli now has 18 goals for club and country this season and his predatory instincts could be crucial to Spurs given Kane is set to be out for four to six weeks with an ankle injury.
"I think all the boys feel extra responsibility," Alli said. "He is a fantastic striker who can get a goal from nothing so as soon as he got injured we knew it was important we all stepped up and chipped in with the goals."