Saturday 23 September 2017

Pochettino: 'Killer' Kane is like Batistuta

Spurs' goalscoring centurion gets high praise from manager ahead of crunch Dortmund tie

Harry Kane gets in his shot despite the efforts of Michael Keane. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Harry Kane gets in his shot despite the efforts of Michael Keane. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Ben Findon

He still cannot score in August but there is little else wrong with Harry Kane, who was hailed a "killer" by manager Mauricio Pochettino after becoming a Tottenham goal centurion by putting meek Everton to the sword.

Kane got his Spurs goal tally back up and running with his first strikes of the season, a double that helped them to a 3-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park took his club career total to 101, prompting Pochettino to compare him with his fellow Argentinian, Gabriel Batistuta.

Pochettino and Batistuta were Argentina team-mates from 1991 to 2002 and while the former was an uncompromising feature of the South Americans' rearguard, the latter rampaged to 54 goals in 77 appearances, earning the sobriquet 'Batigol' for similarly prolific achievements with Fiorentina and Roma.

"Batistuta was a killer, a strong mentality, a strong shot," Pochettino said. "I put Batistuta higher, but Harry can be better. Harry is a killer, too. Look at his scoring in the last few seasons."

Kane has reached 101 in 169 games and, at 24, there is plenty more to come.

"You can see the potential in a player," Pochettino added. "We can give them the tools but then it is up to them. Harry is the protagonist of his life.

"We provided him with the tools to grow up and show all the qualities he has. He is one of the best strikers in the world, one of the best players, too. He's a great man as well. I'm proud to work with him."

Kane's 100-goal landmark was just one of several reasons to be cheerful for Tottenham, whose best performance of the season sets the stage for Wednesday's return to Wembley for a crucial Champions League group opener with Borussia Dortmund.

With Real Madrid hot favourites to win the group, which is completed by Cypriot makeweights Apoel, the second qualifying place appears to be a shoot-out between Tottenham and the Ruhr powerhouse. Pochettino was swift to acknowledge the timing of Saturday's success on Merseyside.

"It is so important. We signed two new players and they need to settle, and we need to play with a different dynamic. We have a busy time, starting with the Champions League on Wednesday, so yes, today was important," he said.

Poor Everton never stood a chance once Tottenham had settled to their task.

There was, admittedly, an element of good fortune about Kane's opener, an intended cross that turned into a perfectly-placed curler that sailed over goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

But the visitors were already dominant and further goals from Christian Eriksen and Kane ended the contest within a minute of the start of the second half.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman admitted his side could not handle a Spurs diamond in which Dele Alli, the outstanding Moussa Sissoko and Eriksen constantly rotated position.

Pochettino also switched to a back three, handing a first start and a central role to £45m club-record signing Davinson Sanchez, 21, who rarely looked troubled.

"The good thing is that he was very calm and relaxed on the pitch," Pochettino said.

Everton were busier in the summer transfer market and the Goodison support, sections of whom jeered their side off at half-time and were long gone by the final whistle, will be required to show patience as Koeman pieces together his new-look jigsaw.

Puzzling

The Dutchman will certainly be puzzling over a lightweight, goal-shy attack in which Sandro Ramirez was withdrawn at half-time, a midfield completely outwitted by Tottenham's tactical fluency and a defence prone to freeze when under sustained pressure.

Everton players will gather today for a thorough post-mortem and midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin said: "We are all football players and most of us are experienced, so we also know ourselves when we were bad and where we need to improve."

Schneiderlin and Wayne Rooney face a daunting return to Manchester United next Sunday, with Koeman having already told his players where he expects to see rapid improvement.

"He told us we needed to be more aggressive and show more on the ball," Schneiderlin said.

"The manager is someone who is very calm when he analyses things. He analysed things very well at half-time, explaining the mistakes we had made and trying to change things for the better." (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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