Dele Alli is "lucky" to be in contention to face Southampton in the FA Cup after escaping serious injury when caught by Raheem Sterling in Sunday's 2-0 win over Manchester City, according to Jose Mourinho. Sterling made firm contact with Alli's ankle in the first half and appeared fortunate to avoid a red card for the mistimed tackle, with Mourinho's frustration evident after the match.
It was one of several refereeing decisions to grate on Mourinho during the gripping encounter, with the use of VAR once again at the centre of post-match discussions. Alli eventually came off 20 minutes from time and there were worries that the effects of Sterling's challenge might rule the attacking midfielder out of action.
But Mourinho confirmed Alli could face Southampton on Wednesday, convinced the England international is fortunate to have not suffered serious damage. "No, it's not as bad [as we first thought]," Mourinho told reporters.
"So, there is a chance of him playing tomorrow [Wednesday], let's wait and see. It's just a question of being a little bit lucky, or unlucky. You need a little bit of luck. Dele Alli was very lucky. Did Sterling want to injure him? I don't think so, I don't believe that he wanted [to hurt Alli]. So, respect to Sterling, I have no problem at all. But the intention does not count. What counts is the action. It is a red card."
Mourinho was particularly animated on the touchline against City, with footage of one action going viral on social media – the clip showing him sprinting to the fourth official to complain about a decision in the aftermath of a Hugo Lloris penalty save.
The coach from Portugal accepts he may have gone too far with his reaction, but explained his frustration stemmed from what he feels is a misuse of VAR. "[I went viral] in a funny way, but not in a good way, but I say in a funny way," he said.
"I think the fact that now it is allowed to have the screen in front of us... I think it's not good for the emotions, for our emotions, because we watch and we watch exactly the same as the VAR [official] is watching, decisions the referees don't see as well as we do. That's because the referees, they are on the pitch and, as I was saying the other day, it is 200 miles per hour and very difficult for them, and sometimes they don't see things the same way we do.
"In 2004-05, I remember I tried to go with a screen to the bench and I was forbidden by the rules, and in this moment now you are allowed. So, I don't think it's good for the emotions. My reaction was just based on being able to watch everything on the screen, so I watched the Dele Alli situation, I watched the penalty, the pretend penalty – I watched everything, so that creates emotions, but okay, I went viral for the wrong reasons."
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