But the fact that he and so many others were desperate to return to action at the earliest juncture spoke volumes for the spirit fostered within Pochettino’s largely unchanged squad.
“Winning the World Cup brought a lot of positive energy,” Hugo Lloris, Tottenham’s French captain, said. “Hopefully, we can take that energy into the future because it’s really good to be back here with the team after such a special win for my country.
“You always need a week or so to switch off after a big tournament like the World Cup, because you finish tired both mentally and physically, but you feed off the elation and satisfaction of winning the biggest trophy ever.”
Lloris feels that the significant Tottenham contingent from semi-finalists England and Belgium will be spurred to greater heights after coming so close to World Cup glory, and Alli in particular impressed.
The midfielder’s winning goal, a back-post header from a Serge Aurier cross in front of the Gallowgate End, was not unlike the one he scored in the last-eight victory over Sweden. “The World Cup can have a positive effect,” he said.
“There’s no real feeling of tiredness, we feel like we’ve had a good amount of time off to rest up and it’s good to get straight back into it.”
After such little downtime for so many key players, in addition to the lack of summer arrivals, Tottenham could face long-term fatigue later in the campaign, but Alli added: “It’s a joy to be back. We’re very ambitious as a squad and we want to achieve things and go as far as we can. It’s up to the manager or the chairman if they decide to bring someone else in but we enjoy playing together and we’re happy with the philosophy of how we want to play here.
“Ever since I’ve been here we feel as though we’ve improved as a squad but we want to start winning things now. We keep coming close, but it’s getting to the point where we’ve got to start winning trophies. That’s the next step.”