LONDON • Dele Alli's reaction to signing a new six-year deal with Tottenham earlier this week underlined why Mauricio Pochettino is so valuable to the north London club amid claims the manager is growing restless.
Victory at Wolves today would extend Spurs' best start to a Premier League campaign, but that tells only part of the story.
Performances have too often fallen short of standards set in recent seasons, throwing focus on the failure to make any signings during the last transfer window, with Spurs making unwanted history as the only top-flight club not to add to their squad.
The after-effects of a gruelling World Cup campaign have also taken a toll on Pochettino's squad, while their Champions League campaign already hangs in the balance with just one point from three matches.
Add to that the continuing delays to their move back into the rebuilt White Hart Lane - according to The Times, Spurs will continue to play their home games at Wembley until January - and there is a growing sense that the club is treading on thin ice right now.
However, Toby Alderweireld believes the criticism has been unwarranted. The Belgian defender maintains they have improved, but conceded to Sky Sports that the stadium saga had "affected" the team.
Matters have been made more complicated by the fact that Real Madrid are on the hunt for a replacement for sacked coach Julen Lopetegui and the European champions have long been admirers of Pochettino, who has experience coaching in Spain with Espanyol.
The 46-year-old's future appeared secure when he signed a new five-year contract at the end of last season, but Spurs would not be the first club to discover they have a fight on their hands if LaLiga giants Real decide to step up their interest.
The central importance of Pochettino to Spurs' future, though, was reinforced by England midfielder Alli's glowing endorsement. "We all love the way we work, the style of play. We all want to be a part of it. He's done a lot for me so far and hopefully, he can keep helping me to improve."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
WOLVES V TOTTENHAM
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