Jose Mourinho insisted there is “no story” over his decision to substitute Dele Alli at half-time during Tottenham’s defeat to Everton.
Spurs started their Premier League campaign in disappointing fashion on Sunday, going down to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header in a 1-0 home defeat.
Alli, who saw an effort saved by England team-mate Jordan Pickford during the first half, only featured for the opening 45 minutes before being replaced by Moussa Sissoko.
However, Mourinho was adamant the decision was made with the team in mind and has no reflection on his relationship with Alli.
“The change at half-time was not the first time in my career, won’t be the last time,” Mourinho told a news conference on Wednesday.
“The last one was with Eric Dier against Olympiacos when I took him off after 25 or 30 minutes. When I do these kinds of things, I always do it for the team, not against the player.
“In some cases, the option was proven right, in some other cases proven wrong. In this case, it didn’t work. The team in the second half was not better than the first half.
“That’s my job to make decisions to try to make the best for the team when I am not happy with the performance. There is no story.
“Dele is a very polite guy. Very calm. I think he’s a bit introspective, when you think a lot about things. So I think the way he reacted was [like] Dele.
“He was quiet, was sad but in the end after the game he was just one of many. But again, I repeat, he’s a good boy. Very, very polite. Good boy, really good boy.”
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 28, 2020
Dier was the subject of an early change in Mourinho’s first home game in charge of Spurs against Olympiacos last year, and the 26-year-old dismissed the suggestion Alli would be negatively affected by the decision.
“He took me off after 30 minutes, even worse!” Dier told reporters. “I think Dele is fine. We’re big boys.
“Football is not a nice world, it’s all about results and performances. Dele is not the first to be taken off at half-time. That’s a thing that can happen.
“If you want to be a big club or a big player, it’s about the way you react and move forward. Knowing Dele and his mentality, he’ll work even harder and try to push on.”
Reports on Tuesday suggested Alli could be used as a potential makeweight in a deal to bring Gareth Bale back to Spurs from Real Madrid.
Negotiations between Tottenham and Madrid are ongoing, though Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett refused to confirm to Stats Perform News if a deal was close.