Dele Alli: My initial goal for the season was just to get 10 starts for Spurs!

Dele Alli says his initial target for this season was just to get 10 starts for Tottenham, so he is thrilled to have already scored 10 goals for the club.

The 20-year-old’s second-half brace in Monday’s 4-0 triumph at Stoke City, which followed his opener in the previous week’s 3-0 triumph over Manchester United, took him into double figures for Spurs, with eight of those goals coming away from home.

The midfielder, who was playing in League One with Milton Keynes Dons this time last year, concedes he has exceeded all of his expectations since moving to White Hart Lane and has had to rapidly adjust his objectives during his first campaign with the Lilywhites.

“When I signed, my target was to get 10 starts and then after I got a run of games I wanted to get 10 goals so I’m happy I’ve reached that target,” he said. “Now I’ve set a benchmark for myself so next season I’ve got to set it even higher.

“Why have so many of the goals been away from home? I’m not sure to be honest. We look to go into every game with the same philosophy and playing the same sort of way, so I don’t know why that’s happened. I think it’s just one of those things.”

Alli nearly scored a third goal but, in between his strikes, he missed an open goal, rounding Shay Given only to hit the post.

“It’s one of those moments, I don’t know how I missed it,” he said. “Thankfully I scored two goals and we won the game so hopefully it can be forgotten, although I’m sure it won’t be!

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“Eric [Dier] has already got on to me about it as soon as I walked in [to the dressing room] so I’m sure there will be more to come. He just showed me a video that someone sent him on Twitter so I’m sure I’ll get a lot more stick for it.”

Despite that unfortunate incident, Alli and his team-mates have plenty to be pleased about after passing their latest test in the Premier League title race with flying colours.

After Leicester’s 2-2 draw against West Ham on Sunday, Tottenham responded emphatically at the Britannia Stadium, moving within five points of the leaders.

The aggregate score over their last two games is 7-0 and, far from choking or showing signs of vertigo as they battle for top spot, the Lilywhites seem to be accelerating towards the finish line.

“I think we definitely showed what we are all about - we won’t stop fighting until the end of the season,” said Alli. “Stoke is never an easy place to go and it was a strong performance, we created a lot of chances. I could definitely have scored more but the team could have scored a lot more chances too and I think it was a good statement from us.

“We’ve been pretty strong all season. Maybe in a few games we weren’t at our best but we’ve got a great team here and we do look like we’re getting stronger. We’re a good team, we’re fit and we keep working hard on the training ground, which I think is important.

“It’s a young team and we’re all looking to do the same thing, which is important. We all want to play the same way and we’ve got a great manager as well. It’s a great place to be, especially for a young player.

“We’ve set our standards high this season and we’ve performed well. We’re just going to keep fighting and hopefully keep getting better and better.”

Having started the week by reaching another impressive milestone in his fledgling Spurs career, Alli could win another accolade on Sunday, having been nominated for the PFA Players’ Young Player of the Year award.

“I remember I was there last year for the League One Team of the Year, and I saw Harry Kane win it [the Young Player award],” said Alli. “I can’t say I imagined myself winning it this year.

“Even to be nominated is a great feeling for me and it’s been a great year. Hopefully next year can be even better.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs