Jose Mourinho signed Paul Pogba in 2016 after Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson had advised him to snap up Dele Alli.
Jose Mourinho has revealed that the one piece of advice Sir Alex Ferguson ever gave him as Manchester United manager was to sign Dele Alli. The former MK Dons player had been snapped up by Tottenham after an impressive display against United in the Capital One Cup five months earlier and had made an encouraging start to life in the Premier League.
In a conversation with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy aired as part of the Amazon Prime All or Nothing documentary released on Monday, Mourinho recalls discussing the England international at Old Trafford.
“Sir Alex Ferguson gave me only one piece of advice in two and a half years – buy Dele Alli,” Mourinho said. “That mentality, the way he plays, the aggression he has in his mind – he is a Manchester United player. Buy Dele Alli. And he has an eye for players.”
The Portuguese ignored him and went for Paul Pogba instead – since when Alli has scored 40 Premier League goals to Pogba’s 25.
When the pair finally met up when Mourinho arrived at White Hart Lane in November, the goals had dried up.
Jose Mourinho ignored Sir Alex Ferguson’s advice to sign Dele Alli from Tottenham (Image: GETTY)
The new Spurs manager expressed concerns that Alli was no longer a good trainer. “Not a disaster, but not Harry Kane either,” he said.
Alli was told in no uncertain terms that he needed to buck up his ideas.
“Maybe, inside, you are telling me to f*** off, but I have to tell you exactly what I see,” Mourinho began. “I have no doubts about your potential. I saw you do incredible things in incredible matches. But I always felt that you had ups and downs.
“There is a huge difference between a player who has consistency and a player who has moments. That is what makes the difference between a top, top player and a player with top potential.
Dele Alli and Paul Pogba still play for Tottenham and Manchester United respectively (Image: GETTY)
“It is something to analyse yourself for you to realise why your career has been MK Dons, Tottenham, national team… bang!
“Then, when you reached the top, why do you have these little ups and downs. I don’t know if it is to do with your lifestyle – if in one period you were an amazing professional but in another period you felt you had become a party boy.
“I have no idea – only you can know that. I am 56 now and yesterday I was 20. Time flies. One day I think you will regret it if you don’t reach what you can reach.
“I am not expecting you to be the man of the match every game. I am not expecting you to score goals every game. I want just to tell you that you will regret it.
“You should demand more from yourself. It should not be me demanding more from you. Nobody else. You. You should demand more from yourself.”