Monday 5 December 2016

Mauricio Pochettino: Important for the team to have Harry Kane scoring again

Published 06/03/2016 | 22:41

Harry Kane scored a fine goal in the north London derby against Arsenal
Harry Kane scored a fine goal in the north London derby against Arsenal

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is pleased to see Harry Kane back among the goals but has also revealed Dele Alli is nursing ankle and knee injuries.

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The England pair have been crucial to Tottenham's rise to become Barclays Premier League title challengers and Kane, still playing in a protective face mask, scored a memorable goal in Saturday's 2-2 draw with north London rivals Arsenal.

The Gunners had taken the lead at White Hart Lane courtesy of an Aaron Ramsey strike but - after Francis Coquelin's red card for the visitors - Tottenham struck back through Toby Alderweireld and a wonderful, curling effort from Kane.

A late Alexis Sanchez leveller meant both sides had to settle for a draw and lost further ground on leaders Leicester but, with Kane having scored just one in six ahead of the game, head coach Pochettino believes his main striker has rediscovered his form at a crucial stage in the season.

"Yes, he came from a period that was difficult for him," Pochettino said when asked if Kane's strike will be good for his confidence.

"I think it's good point to lift him and his confidence. It's important for the team that Harry has started to score again.

"I have confidence in him. Harry has a strong mentality and is a very good player and it's true to play with the mask isn't easy.

"But I think this was a big opportunity to score and show he is back and it's important for him and the team."

Kane was delighted with the goal but was ultimately left cursing the fact Spurs could not see out a win against the 10 men which would have moved them top of the table for a few hours at least.

It was the second time in a matter of days that Pochettino's side had spurned the chance to go top for the first time since 1964 - but Kane does not attach any significance to their missed opportunities.

"I don't think you can read too much into that," he said.

"We've had a tough week with some tough games. Look, a point against Arsenal is not the worst result in the world.

"It still keeps us ahead of them by three points, and we have a good goal difference. We can't control what other teams do, we can only control what we do and I feel we are playing well.

"We just have to get back to winning ways against Villa. We're leaving disappointed. With them going down to 10 men and our two quick goals, we should have then gone on to get a third and a fourth and finish the game off.

"We maybe dropped off a little bit too much and gave them space to play, and we got punished for it. It's a lesson we have to learn from.

"But at the end of the day it is another point against a top side and we can look forward to the games ahead."

While Kane enjoyed a good showing, Alli - who has been a revelation after becoming a first-team regular - was quiet against the Gunners having just returned from injury.

And Pochettino revealed the 19-year-old is being nursed through games at the moment, but is certain his coaching team can take care of the former MK Dons man.

"I don't know about him lacking energy, the second goal today he looked fresh. Maybe we expect from him to run more than 14 kilometres in every game," he said.

"I think today he was one of the best players. He showed energy and character. He is an incredible athlete, yes. But he is not a machine.

"He has a problem in his ankle and knee, he was good before the game but the players are not a machine."

Asked if he would consider resting Alli, Pochettino said: "It depends. We assess the players every day and we take the best decision from the team.

"We try to look after all of them. We played a lot of games and we come from a difficult season because we've played a lot and I think that we have good staff, good sports science and medical who can look after the players in a good way.

"We have a lot of players who are young and in their first or second season in the Premier League. It's very tough and we spend a lot of time analysing and to find information to give the best training sessions or recovery or to find the best way to help them."

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