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Friday 28 July 2017

Harry Kane plays down injury fears following Tottenham's Euro defeat

Tottenham's Harry Kane looks dejected Reuters / Francois Lenoir Livepic
Tottenham's Harry Kane looks dejected Reuters / Francois Lenoir Livepic

Tom Allnutt

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has indicated the knee injury he sustained in Thursday's Europa League defeat to Gent is not serious.

But while Kane hopes to be available for the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Fulham on Sunday, the 23-year-old will be assessed ahead of the match and may not be risked.

Kane took a knock late on in the 1-0 first-leg loss against Gent but was later seen walking out of the Ghelamco Arena, seemingly unhindered.

When asked whether he would be fit for the game at Craven Cottage, Kane said: "Yes, it should be fine."

But Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had earlier suggested his star striker might be one of a few players rested against the Championship outfit.

"I think we need to assess some players. Harry Kane got a knock on his knee, different players too," Pochettino said.

"We need to refresh the team and we'll do that. Tottenham will play in Fulham on Sunday. It's not the name of the players, it's the club.

"We'll see, but we'll put out a team with aims to win and be ready again to compete."

Jeremy Perbet's second-half winner secured Gent a deserved victory and leaves Tottenham with work to do in next week's second leg at Wembley if they want to progress.

The loss also continues a worrying dip in form for Pochettino's men, who have won only two of their last six matches after winning their previous seven in a row. They have scored only once in their last four.

"That is the reality. It sometimes happens," Pochettino said.

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"Good and bad things happen. We've started now a bad period. I hope, on Sunday, we break that negative run."

Pochettino added: "It's not about confidence. We were wrong with our judgement if we think, because of Liverpool, it's only about confidence."

Kane was one of a number of Tottenham players to endure an off night against Gent, who sit a lowly eighth in the Belgian top tier but were much the brighter side for the majority of the contest.

It was a special day too for their manager Hein Vanhaezebrouck, who was celebrating his 53rd birthday on Thursday.

"We believed in our own qualities," Vanhaezebrouck said. "We were not afraid to play, and that is a victory in itself for me. I told them to believe it was possible to win. To do that was the cherry on the cake for me."

Tottenham will still be favourites to turn the tie around in front of their own fans at Wembley but the national stadium has not proven a happy hunting ground for them this season.

They lost two of their three games there in the Champions League group stage, a record that proved key to them failing to go through.

"Going to Wembley is mythical," Vanhaezebrouck added.

"The most important thing for us was to make it a game, to avoid losing 4-0. That can happen for the best.

"Now we can really make a game of it. We made the return game a very interesting game next week."

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