Dele: “Every player played his part”
Sat 11 August 2018, 19:01|Tottenham Hotspur
Like his fellow World Cup semi-finalists – five of them in the starting line-up - Dele Alli only had this week to prepare for Saturday’s big Premier League opener at Newcastle United.
Yet as he was quick to point out, the familiarity and togetherness of this Spurs squad goes a very long way.
Dele scored what turned out the be the decisive goal at St James’ Park, a close-range header he described as ‘put on a plate’ for him by Serge Aurier.
That was 2-1 after a whirlwind start to the game in the Tyneside sunshine. Jan Vertonghen opened the scoring on eight minutes, Joselu soon hit back for Newcastle, quickly followed by Dele’s header.
There were chances at both ends after that. Moussa Sissoko and Dele were denied by Martin Dubravka in the second half while at the other end, Newcastle will point to hitting the woodwork twice through Mohamed Diame and Salomon Rondon.
In the end, it was deja-vu for Dele, who scored in our opening-day win at St James’ Park this time last season.
"We’ve been playing together for a long time now so you come back in and it’s not like you’ve forgotten the way we play or the principles of the way we want to play, they are drilled into all of us now,” said Dele.
“You have to have 100% trust in the person next to you especially when they are coming at you like that.
“At 2-1, the game’s not over. Their fans were right behind them throughout, that gives them momentum and we had to make sure we’re all in it together, defending from the front to the last man. Every player played their part today and it was a well-deserved three points.”
It was put to Dele that manager Mauricio Pochettino had praised the players’ mentality.
“We wanted to make sure we came back and were ready to go,” added Dele.
“We all want to play. This is a tough place for competition (for places) and you want to come back and make sure you are ready and fully fit.
“It was a great summer for a lot of the boys but it was important we put our full focus back on the Premier League and here at Tottenham.”
Dele on...winning the opener
"The first game is always an important one to get the momentum going. It was a difficult game. This is always a difficult place to come, they are a very strong team with a lot of threats and made they it very difficult for us but in the end, we’re happy to leave with the three points."
Dele on...his goal
"It was a great cross from Serge, he put in on a plate for me. It was harder to miss! Sometimes if you take your eye off the ball you can slip-up but it was nice to get the goal and more importantly, the three points."
Dele on...his targets for 2018/19
"I want to keep improving as a player, to keep working hard on the training field and on the pitch on game day. I want to try to improve myself and become the best player I can – I’m in a great place to be doing that."