IT looks like it's over for Jose Mourinho and Dele Alli, before it really got a chance to work.
The England midfielder, 24, has been left out of Tottenham's squad yet again for the Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea tonight.
It's the latest snub for the Three Lions star, who has only started one match for Spurs this season against Everton – but was hauled off at half-time.
Reports suggest that the Portuguese boss is willing to let Alli, who has been linked with a move to French giants PSG, leave the club.
How did Jose and Dele fall out of love?
THAT FIRST TRAINING SESSION
Mourinho doesn't suffer fools gladly.
So, Alli's past reputation – including 62 goals for the club across six seasons – counts for nothing to the former Chelsea manager.
It's all what you do in training.
“You are f****** lazy,” Mourinho told Alli in a clip from Amazon's All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur documentary.
“I’m going to be a pain in the arse on you, and you are lucky. You are lucky, because when I am a pain in the arse it is a good thing.”
And when Mourinho first addressed the media at Tottenham boss back in November, he revealed what he said to the talent.
“I asked him if he was Dele or Dele’s brother?" a stony-faced Mourinho told a room full of journalists.
"He told me he was Dele. ‘OK,’ I said. ‘Play like Dele.’”
SIR ALEX SAID 'BUY ALLI'
There's no doubt Jose steals the show in All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur.
And it's in one of his very first meetings with Daniel Levy when they're discussing Dele when his true feelings show.
As Levy enters Mourinho's office ahead of his first match against West Ham, a serious conversation questioning Alli's professionalism is had.
Mourinho reveals: “I told Dele very directly that he doesn’t train well, he’s not a good trainer. I’m not saying he’s a disaster but I’m not saying he’s Harry Kane. Harry Kane trains well.”
He later says Sir Alex Ferguson advised him to buy Alli when he was Manchester United manager.
“Sir Alex Ferguson gave me only one advice in two and a half years [at Manchester United], buy Dele Alli,” he continues.
“That guy with that mentality, the way he plays with that aggression he has in his mind, this guy is a Manchester United guy. Buy Dele Alli. And he [Ferguson] has an eye for players.”
SHAMED IN FRONT OF TEAM-MATES
During Spurs' pre-match meeting ahead of a Premier league game against West Ham, again with Amazon's cameras rolling, Alli is once more a target for Mourinho.
Incredibly, he is called lazy for a second time by the gaffer in front of his team-mates – in an altercation that appears to either embarrass or motivate him.
“I understood already that you are a f****** lazy guy in training," Mourinho insists as Alli and the others laugh nervously.
It's the start of things to come.
Through the years, Mourinho has won and lost dressing rooms with his heavy-handed approach and demanding nature.
And there's a moment where the two-time Champions League-winner excels and gets to show off the man-management skills that have made him a Premier League champion three times.
He calls Dele to his office in another scene in All or Nothing to reveal his fears for the player – insisting he won't fulfil his promise if he doesn't regain his focus.
"Maybe, inside, you are telling me to f*** off, but I have to tell you exactly what I see," Mourinho begins his monologue.
"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.
"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."
Whether Jose was looking to get a rise out of Dele, who seemingly took the criticism on the chin, only he will know.
But their brutal heart-to-heart seemed to have the desired effect, and it initially gave Alli the motivation to prove his manager wrong.
In Mourinho's first five games, he was one of Spurs' best players scoring four goals and providing three assists.
There were sublime pieces of skill, including a flick to keep the ball in play in the run-up to Lucas Moura's goal against the Hammers.
Then there was his magic-touch goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Everything appeared rosy.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
When the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to the footballing world, Mourinho was adamant he was going to wish Alli happy birthday.
Jose, who lives five minutes from Dele, took a stroll past his house and spied the topless midfielder outside.
They shared a wave, a smile and a greeting – with Jose offering Dele many happy returns.
However, when football restarted – Dele's form tailed off and they appeared to be on the rocks.
AND HE'S YET TO REDISCOVER IT
Train hard, play hard – it's the Mourinho way, as All or Nothing suggests.
But, the underlying tension between Alli and Mourinho has yet to have been resolved.
Despite a flicker of brilliance early on, Dele has been left on the sidelines – with Mourinho insisting he should take note of Tanguy Ndombele's resurgence by buckling down and working hard in training.
When given the opportunity to shut the door on Alli in a recent press conference, Mourinho left it tantalisingly ajar.
Could their love affair offer a few more twists and turns?
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