LONDON -- Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has spoken to Dele Alli about his behaviour after the midfielder's moment of controversy in last week's Europa League clash with Fiorentina.
Alli escaped with a caution in the first half of last Thursday's 1-1 draw in Florence after appearing to kick Fiorentina's Nenad Tomovic.
The 19-year-old insisted after the game it was an accident but said he wouldn't change his aggressive style, while Spurs head coach Pochettino admitted Alli has "a lot to learn about elite football" and that he would speak to the player.
It was not the first controversial incident this season involving Alli, who was accused by Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew of stamping on Yohan Cabaye in Tottenham's 3-1 Premier League win at Selhurst Park in January.
Pochettino said he had a "natural chat" with Alli about his behaviour but felt the midfielder's performance against Palace in Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round was evidence the youngster had learned a lesson.
"We had a chat and it was very good," Pochettino told a news conference ahead of Thursday's Europa League round-of-32 second leg against Fiorentina.
"He's very young, he needs to learn. He's a very nice guy -- a good person -- but he's very competitive. He's showed he's one of the best players in England.
"He's shown very good maturity against Crystal Palace -- he was calm and he played well. It showed he can learn and improve his behaviour on the pitch. It was a natural chat and showed that he has learnt a lot for the future, after that."
A goalless draw at White Hart Lane would see Spurs progress to the Europa League round-of-16 on the away goals rule but Pochettino insisted his players would be aiming for a victory.
"We need to approach the game tomorrow with energy and try to score from the beginning, not think about the result," he said. "It's important to feel free in our heads and try to win the game tomorrow."
Spurs lost 3-1 on aggregate to the Italians at the same stage of last year's competition, while Fiorentina have lost just twice in 11 matches on English soil.
Pochettino is unconcerned about his history and stressed that the Europa League remains an important competition for Spurs, despite their ongoing Premier League title challenge.
"This season will be different: a different coach, different players, different momentum," he said. "We expect very tough game. Fiorentina has a great culture and they're one of best teams in Italy.
"The players do not know the records of Fiorentina. We need to play freely. We respect Fiorentina, because they are a very good team that plays well home and away. But it's only a record, and it's not important for us. We need to do our job and show we are better than them.
"Every game is important, in every competition. I always give a similar speech. The FA Cup was important but we lost, despite deserving to go to the next round. You need to score -- we didn't score. Now it's another competition -- we want to go to the next round. We need to play well, we need to score but some aspects are impossible to manage."
A prolonged run in Europe could either stretch Spurs' thin squad and derail their challenge for a maiden Premier League title or help Pochettino and his players keep up their impressive momentum.
Pochettino preferred not to speculate about the impact of the Europa League on his side's domestic form.
"Always with a victory, it's a better impact than when you lose -- it's psychology," he said. "When you're happy, you play well, you score goals, it's important. But football is not mathematic. Sometimes a win won't help in the future, it can change something. You never know. All you can do is work hard every hard, be ready for the game. We cannot guess about the future."