Cape Town - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has told the critics to lay off Dele Alli, as the young forward, and the club in general, hit a rough patch.
Spurs have not won in their last three matches, including defeats to Arsenal and Leicester City either side of a draw with West Bromwich Albion, and the 21-year-old has faced criticism for his recent performances.
"I'm so happy with him," Pochettino said.
"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."
The upcoming festive period could be decisive for the north London club's season, as they prepare to face Watford at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
Kick off is at 15:30.