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Dele Alli Says Tottenham Mentality Not 'Strong Enough' After UCL Exit at Leipzig

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 11, 2020

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - MARCH 10: Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between RB Leipzig and Tottenham Hotspur at Red Bull Arena on March 10, 2020 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Pawel Andrachiewicz/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)
PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

Dele Alli has said Tottenham Hotspur's mentality "wasn't strong enough" after they suffered a 3-0 defeat at RB Leipzig on Tuesday that resulted in their exit from the UEFA Champions League round of 16.

Spurs lost 4-0 on aggregate following a 1-0 first-leg defeat at home in February. Jose Mourinho's side are without a win in six games and can no longer win silverware this season having also suffered an FA Cup fifth-round departure against Norwich City on penalties.

Alli told BT Sport (h/t Joe Krishnan of the Evening Standard) after Tuesday's game: "It was the mentality. We were second for a lot of balls. You saw at the start we were bright, then we concede the goals and our mentality wasn't strong enough. You can't blame one person, and I'm not going to single out anyone. It was the whole team, it's not down to one player to stop goals."

Emil Forsberg put the finishing touches on Leipzig's triumph at the Red Bull Arena with his 87th-minute strike, but it was two Marcel Sabitzer goals in the opening 21 minutes that appeared to quell Spurs' threat (U.S. viewers only):

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Marcel Sabitzer has two goals in 21 minutes 🔥 https://t.co/XKI9hSlrAT

Tottenham attackers Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son have been out because of injury since January and February, respectively. Moussa Sissoko is another long-term absentee, while Steven Bergwijn and Davinson Sanchez were each ruled out of the Leipzig clash with injuries.

Alli added: "We can't use that as an excuse, we still have enough quality on pitch. We are missing good players, but that happens, and when it happens, we have to step up. We haven't done that today. I'm gutted. I have to apologise for the fans for coming all this way and we lose like that. They deserve better."

The England international—who was fielded in an advanced central role at Leipzig in the absence of fit strikers—later took to Twitter to express his disappointment:

Dele @dele_official

Extremely disappointing night. Gutted to be knocked out of the competition we did so well in last year. This one is tough to take but it’s not the time to crumble, we have to re group and focus on the weekend. Thank you to the travelling fans - forever grateful for the support 🙏🏾

Mourinho bemoaned Tottenham's injuries as a major factor in his side's failure to compete after the game, suggesting any team would struggle in the same manner if they lost key players, via Football Daily:

Football Daily @footballdaily

🗣"Imagine Leipzig without Sabitzer, Schick & Werner do you think they would win the way they did? or Liverpool without Salah, Mane, Firmino? Barcelona without Griezmann, Messi, Suarez?" Jose Mourinho blames Tottenham's injury crisis on their current form https://t.co/Q1SiOCoslC

OptaJoe highlighted Mourinho's current six-match winless run as the longest such drought in his career to date, evidence as to how much the team have struggled without several of their first-team regulars.

Former Manchester City and Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong—currently at Qatari club Al Shahaniya—appeared as a beIN Sports pundit and agreed Tottenham didn't have the attitude to overcome Leipzig:

beIN SPORTS @beINSPORTS_EN

Dele Alli blames Tottenham's mentality for defeat but @NDJ_Official isn't buying that excuse. #beINUCL #UCL #RBLTOT https://t.co/jrGyTuzH1S

Spurs have scored just five goals during their six-game stretch without a victory, but defence is also a concern after they've kept a single clean sheet across their last 11 outings in all competitions.

The north Londoners host Manchester United on Sunday when they return to the Premier League, hoping to close the four-point gap between them and the Red Devils.    

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