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Jose Mourinho would not blame Dele Alli for Tottenham's latest defeat and waved off calls to give Troy Parrott more minutes, despite accepting the makeshift striker's missed chance against Wolves was a critical moment.
Alli played as a central forward in the 3-2 home loss to Wolves on Sunday with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min out injured, Spurs suffering a third consecutive reverse across all competitions.
With Tottenham 2-1 up in the second half and on top, the England international sent a free header from Ben Davies' deep cross narrowly off target.
Two minutes later, Diogo Jota levelled the match and Raul Jimenez went on to score a late winner, but Mourinho felt Alli had been unfortunate.
"The match was close and will always be close," Mourinho, who also said the result was unfair on his players, told reporters.
"If you look at it in that perspective then yes, we missed a big chance to score a beautiful goal and to make the score 3-1. That's football though, and nobody's to blame.
"Ben arrived in a great position, the cross is great and Dele makes the run that he has to make.
"He's pretty good in the air for a player who is not a striker. He's a good header of the ball. He was unlucky.
"Obviously without the strikers we tried different solutions. I think it worked in the sense that we managed to score goals. We managed to have some opportunities.
"We managed to arrive in dangerous positions. I believe we had more possession than them. We had more control than them."
Highly rated youngster Parrott came off the bench in stoppage time but Mourinho insisted the 18-year-old is still not ready for regular first-team action despite the club's lack of attacking options.
"He is not ready, he is not ready," Mourinho said of the Irish striker. "He's a good kid, a good talent, he's a kid we want to help. He's a kid who needs help, not just on the pitch but outside the pitch.
"He's a kid we are going to take care of like we have since the beginning and he's a kid who is obviously going to have a real opportunity in the right moment when we feel it is the moment.
"Why was he on the bench? He was on the bench because Erik Lamela told me before the game he was not even ready to go on the bench.
"So, in that moment, without Lamela, we brought Troy in and in the last five minutes we put on a striker who at least knows the position so he could try to fix Conor Coady, giving Dele some more space and freedom.
"That is the way it is. We have to try to keep close [to the top four] until the moment we have our power back."