Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has called for patience over Dele Alli as the midfielder battles to rediscover his best form.
England international Alli has so far been unable to recapture the heights of last term, when he scored 18 times in the Premier League.
The 21-year-old has only managed three league goals this time around and has been questioned for several off-colour performances that have contributed to Spurs’ slide to seventh.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to sixth-placed Burnley, Pochettino reiterated his faith in Alli’s ability.
“Of course he needs to improve. But we need to help,” Pochettino told reporters at his pre-match press conference.
“He is a massive talent for us. He is such an important player, not only for us but for England too.
“We need to understand that youngsters sometimes are maybe not at their best. That is the moment to try to help, to try to support and provide better tools for him to again perform like he did in the past.
“But I am happy with him.”
Pochettino also defended Alli and striker Harry Kane over criticism stemming from their tackles in the 4-1 defeat at Manchester City last weekend.
“Never with bad intentions, only because the result wasn’t good for us,” the Spurs boss said of the challenges.
“Sometimes you want to do more. You want to run more. You want to tackle. You want to recover the ball and sometimes you arrive with bad timing.
“But the most important is that it was not their intention to do anything wrong.”