Pochettino hails Alli after spot-kick heroics see Tottenham through
Mauricio Pochettino lauded Dele Alli for his performance against Watford after the Tottenham star netted the winning penalty in a 4-2 shoot-out victory in the EFL Cup.
Alli, returning to his former stomping ground at Stadium MK, captained Tottenham in Wednesday's encounter with the Hornets, which finished 2-2 amid late drama.
Having taken the lead through Isaac Success, Watford were pegged back when Alli scored from the spot following a foul from Christian Kabasele, who was subsequently sent off.
Erik Lamela looked to have won it with four minutes remaining, only for Etienne Capoue to restore parity and send the game to spot-kicks, but the former Tottenham man failed to convert his attempt from 12 yards, with Domingos Quina's miss setting the stage for Alli to win it.
— Dele (@dele_official) September 26, 2018
And Pochettino was delighted for the former MK Dons midfielder.
"A fantastic spirit from him. He was so excited to play here," Pochettino, who also promised he is taking every competition seriously, told Quest.
"For him to come back and play in his home town is a fantastic experience, and of course I am happy because the victory allowed us to go to the next stage.
"Of course, we can talk about the performance, but the most important thing is we won and we are in the draw.
"I always will respect the competition and we want to go through. We made changes, but it doesn't mean you don't want to win.
"The most important thing was the mentality, the team made a really good effort, and now we have to move forward and start thinking about the three games we have ahead of the international break."
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 26, 2018
Watford's Javi Gracia, meanwhile, was left to rue what he believed was a perplexing decision by referee Lee Mason to send Kabasele off.
The Belgian had only been on the pitch four minutes when he bundled into Alli and received his marching orders.
"I think we played really well," Gracia said.
"There were some decisions that were hard to accept, but every game we play I am more proud of my players.
"I don't understand the [red card] decision. From the bench I didn't see if it was a penalty or not, but after that I don't understand.
"I try to respect the referee's decisions, to support them, because I know it's not easy to do their job, but the players deserved a better reward."