Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that Dele Alli's illness during the midweek forced him to leave the England international on the bench during his side's victory over Crystal Palace. The north London club sealed a 1-0 win, courtesy of a late goal from summer signing Victor Wanyama.
The former Southampton manager started summer signing Vincent Janssen alongside Harry Kane, with two strikers playing up front. The Argentine used to prefer playing with only one striker up front and Alli was deployed behind him in the 2015/16 campaign.
Alli replaced Christian Eriksen in the 68th minute and his arrival on the pitch saw Kane play in the No 10 role. The 20-year-old was not involved during the training sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday due to illness and Pochettino revealed that he did not want to rush his midfielder in order to avoid any future problems.
"We cannot play with 12 or 13 players like in basketball. If we want to play with two strikers, it's impossible to play everyone," Pochettino said, as quoted by Sky Sports.
"We have a lot of games ahead and all can play. Dele was ill during the week; Tuesday and Wedneday he didn't train. But it's normal. He came from the Euros. We need to be careful and manage him in a good condition to avoid future problems."
Alli's absence from the starting lineup helped Pochettino to play two strikers up front. Once he came from the bench, the Tottenham manager had to change the position of his players and he admitted that Kane was happy to play in the No 10 role.
"Then it was a good opportunity to see both strikers Harry and Vincent. It's a natural decision. Dele is a great player and a very important one for us this season," he explained.
"It's a position that he has played a lot. When I arrived here I watched him play with another striker."
"He was a lot freer and had a lot more chances to shoot and score. More than Everton. I think it was a very good combination. It is one important option we have to play with both of them. It's good to have many options for the future."