Mauricio Pochettino has warned that Dele Alli still “has a lot to learn” after he kicked out at a Fiorentina player during Tottenham’s 1-1 draw.
The 19-year-old was cautioned on the half-hour mark of the 1-1 last-32 first-leg stalemate at the Stadio Artemio Franchi after Nenad Tomovic reacted angrily following a foul from Alli.
Replays appeared to show the Spurs man made no effort to jump clear of the defender and instead caught him with a boot.
The home players were further incensed when Tottenham were awarded a soft penalty shortly afterwards as Ben Davies went down under minimal contact from Tomovic, with Nacer Chadli stroking home the penalty.
Fiorentina earned a draw courtesy of a deflected second-half strike from Federico Bernardeschi and the hosts actually finished the game strongly.
Alli kept his place in the Spurs team despite Pochettino making six changes from Sunday’s 2-1 win at Manchester City and, although he was once again the pick of the bunch, it is not the first time the former MK Dons man has courted controversy.
Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew accused Alli of stamping on Yohan Cabaye in Tottenham’s 3-1 win over the Eagles in January.
And now Pochettino has said he will talk to Alli about that side of his game.
“We need to look at the video and try to teach him,” he said.
“He is a young player and he has a lot to learn about elite football. It is his first season in the Premier League at Tottenham.
“He came from League One, he needs to learn a lot, still learn. But I didn’t see (the incident). Some people say ‘yes’, say ‘no’, so I don’t know.”
Pochettino had insisted leading into the contest that he was still taking the Europa League seriously despite now being one of the favourites to claim the Premier League crown.
He may have changed over half of his side for the trip to Florence, but he maintains that is a necessity if Spurs are to challenge on three fronts – with an FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to Palace next up on Sunday.
“It is important to play with the squad,” he said.
“We have a strong squad to try to fight for every competition, we need to use all of the squad. I am happy with all of the players.
“Six changes from the City game and I’m happy, it is not important to talk about using the squad. It is important how we compete, we have big motivation.”