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Interim boss Ryan Mason hails ‘excellent’ Dele Alli after Tottenham sink Wolves

The 25-year-old was frozen out under previous manager Jose Mourinho and appeared close to a January departure.

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Ryan Mason, right, praised Dele Alli for his display against Wolves (Shaun Botterill/Adrian Dennis/PA)

Ryan Mason, right, praised Dele Alli for his display against Wolves (Shaun Botterill/Adrian Dennis/PA)

Ryan Mason, right, praised Dele Alli for his display against Wolves (Shaun Botterill/Adrian Dennis/PA)

Tottenham interim boss Ryan Mason reserved special praise for Dele Alli after his performance in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Wolves.

Alli has had a difficult season, having been frozen out under previous manager Jose Mourinho and coming close to a January exit.

But Mason, a former team-mate of Alli, has restored him to the starting line-up and it paid dividends against Wolves as he put in his best performance of the season in front of watching England boss Gareth Southgate.

He was not involved in the goals, scored by Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, but, even if it did come too late to force his way into the Euro 2020 squad, it was a display of old from the 25-year-old.

I don't really like singling out players but it's hard not to because I'm sure everyone felt it. He ran, he competed, he pressed, he created opportunities.Ryan Mason on Dele Alli

“I can’t speak in terms of what Gareth is thinking. I don’t know on that, but for me Dele was excellent,” Mason said.

“I don’t really like singling out players but it’s hard not to because I’m sure everyone felt it. He ran, he competed, he pressed, he created opportunities.

“I’m sure he’s disappointed not to get a goal himself.

“It was an excellent number 10 performance, I’m really, really pleased.”

The win strengthened Spurs’ European qualification hopes as a top-six finish – and likely Europa League access – is now in their own hands with two games left.

Mason says that does not change the dynamic ahead of the Aston Villa match on Wednesday and Sunday’s final game of the campaign at Leicester.

“Our thinking all along was the next game,” he said. “That will be the case. I am going to enjoy the next 30 minutes because our performance deserves that.

“Our attention has to be on Wednesday, it’s another big game for the club, we know that. We knew today was a big game.

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Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (left) sealed matters with Spurs’ second goal just after the hour (Adrian Dennis/PA)

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (left) sealed matters with Spurs’ second goal just after the hour (Adrian Dennis/PA)

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (left) sealed matters with Spurs’ second goal just after the hour (Adrian Dennis/PA)

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“Three wins in four in the Premier League so it is nice to get a good feeling going into a crucial seven days now.

“We needed to see a win first and foremost but then also with that, how you win is important.

“It’s important to get a certain feeling. I thought we were outstanding. We could have and probably should have scored more. We attacked the game, dominated it and and controlled it.

“We also defended well when we needed to so it was a very pleasing performance.”

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Harry Kane (second right) opened the scoring at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Shaun Botterill/PA)

Harry Kane (second right) opened the scoring at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Shaun Botterill/PA)

Harry Kane (second right) opened the scoring at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Shaun Botterill/PA)

Kane enhanced his chances of winning the Golden Boot with his 22nd goal of the season just before half-time, thanks to a clinical finish, while Hojbjerg’s strike just after the hour killed the game.

Wolves were second best and defeat condemned them to a bottom-half finish for the first time since their return to the top flight.

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo criticised his team’s defending and ordered plenty of hours on the training ground.

Sometimes we feel like we create our own problems.Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo

“A lot of work, discipline, individual improvement, a lot of work,” he said. “We have to stay and spend many hours on the training ground so we can improve.

“That is the only solution. We have to solve it in a couple of days because we face Everton.

“We can concede goals. The manner of how we concede is what I am disappointed at. One simple pass that breaks all of the lines is something we cannot allow to happen.

“Sometimes we feel like we create our own problems.”

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