The Spurs boss yesterday said he was convinced Alli would remain at the club beyond the end of the transfer window, despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain, but laid down the gauntlet to the 24-year-old, saying he had “to have an answer and perform” if selected this evening.
Mourinho also said Alli lacked consistency but absolved himself of blame for his patchy form, saying “99 per cent of the responsibility” lay with the midfielder himself.
Ahead of the third qualifying round in Skopje, Winks said: “Dele is a top player and you don’t get to the level he’s got to through luck. You get there through hard work and great ability. It might be a dip in confidence, I don’t know the situation. But he is a fantastic player and a top pro as well.
“I am sure everybody in the team will back me in saying he will get back to his best form — he will do. He’s responded really well [to missing the last two matches]. He’s been training really hard.”
If Spurs win, they will set up a one-off Europa League play-off next Thursday at home against Russian side Rostov or Maccabi Haifa, of Israel, for a place in the group stage.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart is expected to be handed his Spurs debut against Shkendija, but new signings Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon have not travelled. After spending a combined £37million on the duo, Mourinho still wants a new striker and centre-half, but the club need to sell unwanted players such as Danny Rose and Juan Foyth before buying again.
Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar (right) and Benfica’s Ruben Dias are among Mourinho’s defensive targets, but any deals are likely to involve swaps.
Spurs were today expected to be awarded a bye to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup against Chelsea next Tuesday, after Leyton Orient gave up their bid to have the abandoned third-round tie rescheduled.
Orient had hoped to play the fixture at a later date after it was called off less than three hours before kick-off on Tuesday, following an outbreak of coronavirus at the club. But following talks with the EFL yesterday, the Os are resigned to the game not taking place and their players were set to be informed this afternoon.
The club were desperate to play the game, which was worth a precious £150,000 to them in revenue, but it is understood the EFL have agreed to make up some of the shortfall.
Under the competition’s rules, a club forfeits if they are unable to play due to an outbreak of positive cases, but Orient accused the EFL of double standards after West Ham’s match with Hull went ahead, despite David Moyes and two of his players testing positive shortly before kick-off, and said they had a team ready to face Spurs.
They also argued they were being punished for accepting Spurs’ offer to be tested before the game, with Hull and Brentford having rejected offers from Premier League opponents to be tested before their third-round ties.
The EFL are also expected to provide an update on Orient’s match at Walsall on Saturday after up to 17 players returned positives tests following last weekend’s draw with Mansfield.