It took an own goal by Fulham of England central defender, Tosin Adarabioyo to give Tottenham Hotspur victory in the English Premier League, but the winning team’s coach, Jose Mourinho singled out of his side’s Nigerian-born player, Bamidele ‘Dele’ Alli for plaudits.
Speaking in the wake of the encounter at Craven Cottage, where Adarabioyo’s 19th minute own goal was the decisive factor on the night in London, Mourinho praised Alli for justifying his inclusion in Spurs’ starting line-up, as the England international orchestrated an unexpected away win for his team.
It was a game of intense drama, as Adarabioyo inadvertently converted Alli’s flick to hand Tottenham victory and end a run of three successive away defeats for the visitors, even as Josh Maja’s effort for Fulham was ruled out for handball.
Megasportsarena.com reports further that Fulham dominated the second half and thought they had deservedly equalised when Maja fired home in the 62nd minute, but the ball had hit Mario Lemina on the arm just before and VAR ruled out the strike.
The Cottagers had seen a plethora of chances pass them by in a goalless draw against Crystal Palace at the weekend and a lack of cutting edge up front was once again their Achilles heel on Thursday.
They were unable to keep a third successive home clean sheet when Adarabioyo put Alli’s flick into his own net to ultimately hand Spurs their first away win since January 17, but the hosts will feel like it is another opportunity missed – a victory would have taken them out of the bottom three for the first time since Christmas – but remain in 18th.
Although Alli had not started an EPL game since the opening weekend, when he was substituted at half-time, Mounrinho said the dazzler deserved his place, especially as the former Milton Keynes Dons’ star’s flick ricocheted off Adarabioyo for Tottenham’s eventual winner.
Mourinho said: “He deserved [to start]. It wasn’t a gift, it was a consequence of his work since he came back to the team, working 100 per cent and becoming fully fit and ready to play.
“He was giving us important things, he did very well in the Europa League, he did very well in every minute he was on the pitch coming from the bench against West Ham and Burnley so he was deserving.
“In this moment, we need a squad with so many matches coming so quickly. We cannot change the structure of the team but we can change two or three players, which we did today. I thought Dele was important to have a start and the feeling of a Premier League start is important for him.”