Tottenham's Dele Alli has been booked only once this season.
Tottenham's Dele Alli has been booked only once this season. WILL OLIVER

Spurs boss wants to keep Alli's wild side

FOOTBALL: Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says he does not want to totally tame "wild child" Dele Alli as his Spurs side goes for a spot at the top of the English Premier League tonight.

Alli's temperament was questioned last season as Spurs challenged Leicester for the title.

He was given a three-match ban for punching West Brom's Claudio Yacob and was lucky to escape punishment after kicking out at Fiorentina defender Nenad Tomovic in the Europa League.

This campaign, the 20-year-old seems to have kept himself in check, with just one booking from 14 games but his manager said taking away Alli's wild side might detract from his performances.

"He is a big talent but he was a bit wild," Pochettino said.

"Now he is more domesticated. You can't lose that side - it might make him a special player.

"It is like when you have a wild horse and you need to put it in a box and domesticate it, no?"

"It is all a process with the younger lads to be more mature, with more experience, now more focused on playing football."

Tottenham will top the EPL with victory at Bournemouth, with Manchester City and north London rival Arsenal not playing until later in the weekend.

Spurs will still be without the injured Harry Kane and Pochettino has urged his replacement Vincent Janssen to not put so much pressure on himself in the search for goals.

Janssen scored 27 goals in the Dutch Eredivisie last season but has scored only once this season in a 5-0 win over Gillingham in the League Cup.

"In the end, we need to calm him, say 'yes, good, don't worry, work hard, keep going and you will ensure you will score'," Pochettino said.

Tonight's games: Bournemouth v Spurs, Arsenal v Middlesbrough, Leicester v Crystal Palace, West Ham v Sunderland, Hull v Stoke, Swansea v Watford, Burnley v Everton, Liverpool v West Brom