Jose Mourinho refused to say whether Dele Alli would play for Tottenham in their clash against Maccabi Haifa on Thursday, but was very eager to hammer home the point that the midfielder remains “professional” in all he is doing.
Alli has made just one subsitute appearance – in the Europa League – since he was hauled off at half-time in Spurs’ opening day loss to Everton.
Rumours have been circulating that the England international’s future may be elsewhere, with Paris Saint-Germain among those interested.
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Mourinho claims he is yet to make a decision as to whether the 24-year-old will play on Thursday, but insists he still has the utmost “respect” for him.
He said: “I cannot confirm Dele’s playing tomorrow but I cannot confirm he’s not playing. We have still training sessions today, we have still decisions to make. The only thing I can say is he’s being very, very professional. I have only respect for him. He’s being very professional, particularly yesterday when the team was preparing for the game and he wasn’t.
“It would be perfectly acceptable to have a lack of motivation, even a lack of professionalism for this training session but it was exactly the opposite.
“He trained very hard yesterday. He has my respect and the respect of his teammates so it’s possible he plays tomorrow.”
Mourinho was also asked when Gareth Bale might be able to feature for Spurs, and the manager claimed he is entering the “last phase” of his return to fitness and hopes that will continue with the club rather than with the Wales national team.
“Bale cannot play tomorrow or even on the weekend, that I can confirm,” Mourinho added.
“Working very hard, very committed, very professional, very happy but not yet [ready] for tomorrow or the weekend.
“I believe the two weeks of international can be important for his last phase of his recovering and fitness, hopefully to play when we come back for the weekend after the national teams.
“Let’s see if it’s possible [for him] to arrive there. But yesterday just fatigue.
“Gareth officially didn’t arrive anything to me but it looks like [Ryan] Giggs cares about the player and understands how important the period is for Gareth and it looks like his decision is not to bring him to the National team.
“In fact, he’s not ready to play, he couldn’t play for them. But to be there, and lose the work he can do with us, would be very important for the player. And the player belongs to Tottenham, the player belongs to the Welsh national team and it looks like he’s going to have this opportunity to work specifically and to be back in good conditions.”