Sunday 11 December 2016

Kane heads Tottenham into Europa knockouts

Qarabag 0-1 Tottenham

Published 27/11/2015 | 02:30

Badavi Guseynov of Qarabag FK is challenged by Harry Kane
Badavi Guseynov of Qarabag FK is challenged by Harry Kane
Tottenham’s Harry Kane is congratulated after scoring the winning goal by Son Heung-min during last night’s Europa League clash against Qarabag

Mauricio Pochettino declared it was "job done" after Tottenham reached the knockout stages of the Europa League.

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The Tottenham manager sprang a surprise by picking Harry Kane in a strong starting line-up against Qarabag, despite facing Chelsea fewer than 72 hours later. But the move paid off as Kane nodded in the winner to ensure Tottenham's longest-ever journey for a competitive fixture - a 5,000-mile round trip to the capital of Azerbaijan - proved worthwhile as they made the last 32 with a match to spare.

"We are through to the next round and this was our objective," said Pochettino. "The objective is gone now. We will make sure we will arrive in a good condition to play Chelsea. We have a strong squad and a strong mentality, with the maturity."

It was shaping up to be a frustrating evening for Spurs, with both Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli denied by the woodwork.

On the hour mark, Son's cracker from the edge clattered off the crossbar and 10 minutes later Alli's volley came back off the foot of the post. But moments later Kane made the breakthrough, after Son flicked on Christian Eriksen's corner, getting the final touch to nod the ball over the line.

With nine goals in his past six games, Kane's form has led to speculation about his future in January.

But Pochettino added: "I am happy that a big club want our players - this is because they show they are a top player with top performances. It is good when they are linked. But Harry, like Hugo Lloris, wants to stay here.

"He is one of the best players and he is very happy. He wants to grow up with us and try the next few years to try for the top four and win titles with Tottenham."

Irish Independent

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