Sport Soccer

Wednesday 20 June 2018

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Pochettino feels the love as Kane sets up win over West Ham

Tottenham striker Harry Kane, right, continued his fine form against West Ham
Tottenham striker Harry Kane, right, continued his fine form against West Ham

Harry Kane certainly made an impression on Mauricio Pochettino after his two goals helped secure a 3-2 win at West Ham.

Just three days after a midweek dinner date, the Tottenham boss has finally admitted he is smitten by the England star.

"I find it hard to find the words to describe him," said Pochettino. "I am in love like the fans are in love, like his team-mates are in love.

"He is so humble, he keeps all the values that managers like me appreciate a lot. That is why I am in love with him for different reasons."

Pochettino had, of course, taken his entire squad and staff to a steak restaurant for a spot of team bonding on Wednesday.

It certainly had the desired effect on Kane, who had virtually polished off West Ham before half-time in the lunchtime kick-off.

A glancing header from Dele Alli's cross, after a mistake by sub Andy Carroll, put Spurs ahead and a rebound after Alli's effort was saved doubled the lead.

When Christian Eriksen added a third - after Kane had thumped a free-kick against a post - Tottenham were cruising.

But Javier Hernandez pulled one back and Serge Aurier was needlessly sent off before Cheikhou Kouyate's header ensured a tense finish.

Aurier, already on a booking, scythed down Carroll to mark his full league debut with a red card.

But Pochettino added: "I think the first yellow wasn't yellow. Then of course we are disappointed because he got the second, but that is football.

"When I was a player I made a lot of mistakes. But I am happy with him - he's only been working with us for 20 days so I am happy.

"It was a very tough game, and overall we deserved the win. If we analyse the game we were better.

"We played well, competing and fighting against a difficult team, in a derby. That game means more than three points."

Hammers boss Slaven Bilic could at least console himself with an encouraging fightback from his side, who took some serious hidings at home last season.

Carroll had only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes, replacing the injured Michail Antonio, when his misplaced pass inadvertently helped set up the opener.

"We are disappointed we lost the game," said Bilic. "Until that first goal we were proper like last year when we beat them, it was a really good performance.

"Then we lose one ball, with enough players behind, and it was a brilliant finish. But it was a good fight from our side."

Unlike Pochettino, Bilic could be forgiven for being sick of the sight of Kane after he took his tally against West Ham to seven goals in six appearances against them.

"The best compliment I can give Harry Kane is that we played with three centre-backs, and they all had a really good game," added Bilic.

"They were mostly just up against him - and still he decided the game for them."

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