Former MK Dons starlet Dele scored with virtually identical headers either side of the half-time interval as we triumphed 2-0 in an intense London derby, billed in the lead-up to kick-off as one of the biggest games of the Premier League season.
In spite of the pressure it was a fine display, the outcome of which lifted us to third place in the table, ended the leaders’ record-equalling 13-match winning streak and reduced the gap between us and the Blues to seven points.
Respected club captain and goalkeeper Hugo proudly watched it all unfold from the other end of the pitch and, after the game, underlined how impressed he’s been with Dele’s development.
“I’m very pleased with Dele,” said the 30-year-old after his young team-mate took his tally to seven goals in our last four matches. “That kind of chance that he had tonight, he got a few at the beginning of the season and he missed the target but in the last few games with his headers, he’s been fantastic.
“I think he’s improving every day, he’s a huge talent and it’s the same – if he keeps working hard and if he’s still got the right mentality he’s going to make a big player. It’s good because he knows the effort that he has to produce in every game and every training session and he’s very important in the team. If you look at all the players, they know how important the team is and we all know that the team is the star. As long as we keep this mentality there is no problem – we will get better and better and stronger.”
Dele’s recent scoring streak means he’s now reached 10 Premier League goals in 2016-17 – the same as his total for the whole of last season and a tally that’s equal to striker Harry Kane’s current haul this term.
Asked how impressed he was to see Dele scoring freely from midfield, Hugo replied: “He is an offensive player. The manager gives him a bit of freedom offensively and he is the kind of player who will read the game, feel the game and is always at the best position in front to receive the ball. Tonight, he proved that again.”