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Dele Alli: Tottenham 'had to keep cool' to beat Newcastle

Dele Alli says Tottenham knew they would have to keep their cool against a Newcastle team trying to drag them into "a battle" during their opening game of the Premier League season.

Alli scored Spurs' opener but was also at the centre of the action as Newcastle were reduced to 10 men when Jonjo Shelvey stood on him, but he praised the Newcastle captain after the match.

"It's one of those things but he's a great player and I'm sure he's going to be disappointed," he told Sky Sports. "I've been caught out a couple of times for my temper but it's something I like to keep to my game.

"It was a game where we had to keep our cool, we didn't want to get too heated up and get brought into what they wanted us to do, which was make it more of a physical game and a battle than a game of football.

"It was important that we just kept the ball moving, I don't think there was any need to react today. I was happy with the performance and the win."

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Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
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Mauricio Pochettino praised Alli's maturity after the midfielder was on the receiving end of some tough tackling from Newcastle, including a lunge from Matt Ritchie that earned him a yellow card, and was booed by Newcastle fans when he was substituted with 10 minutes remaining.

"I felt we dominated the game," Pochettino told a postmatch news conference. "It was difficult to play -- the pitch was so dry and the way in how they play, so deep with counter attacks. It was difficult to find the space in the first half to penetrate, to create chances.

"I think in the second half we were playing better and of course the red card helped a little bit. Playing against ten men always helps a bit and helps you feel comfortable on the pitch.

"He [Alli] was calm. That was important. Remember last season we talked a lot about that. He's so mature now to accept all that happens on the pitch. He's so calm, so brave. He then scored a great goal. Needs to improve. Not in his best expression, but he is coming."

Kyle Walker-Peters, the 20-year-old right-back who impressed on his Premier League debut, added: "I found out yesterday in training before we did tactics and shape work. Bit nervy -- nerves are good though. A few of the boys tried to tease me about it. I'm happy."

Pochettino said last week that Walker-Peters was not ready to play in the Premier League but he claimed he had been bluffing to avoid putting pressure on the youngster.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.


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