London, December 1: Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has defended Dele Alli in the wake of criticism of his performances.
The England international's form has dipped markedly in recent weeks, his travails coinciding with a poor run of results for Spurs.
Alli has only scored one Premier League goal since August and struggled to make an impact in defeats to Manchester United, Arsenal and Leicester City, as well as a 1-1 draw with West Brom.
Spurs have dropped to seventh in the table as a result of their run, prompting particular scrutiny on the performances of Alli, but Pochettino insists critics must not forget that he is only 21.
"I'm so happy with him," Pochettino said when asked about the midfielder. "Your question is like 'Oh, Dele Alli is not performing like in the last few years', but his first few years were the last few seasons, he's so young.
"He needs to find his balance. But I am happy with him. It's normal we always expect from him, because he's a very talented player, to score in every game and make unbelievable things. It's normal sometimes the players are up and down.
"The experienced players struggle during 10 months to keep their performance. With Dele, he's young, it's normal sometimes to be up and down. I am happy with him."
Spurs travel to face Watford on Saturday (December 2).