Tuesday 19 March 2019

Pochettino happy with Kane contribution as August drought goes on

Kane’s scoreless run in August now extends to 14 matches.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA

By Damian Spellman, Press Association Sport

Mauricio Pochettino is confident Harry Kane will hit the goals trail once again despite drawing a blank in Tottenham’s 2-1 Premier League victory at Newcastle.

Remarkably, the prolific England captain has never found the back of the net in the top flight in August, a run which now stretches to 14 games, although his club boss is certain it will only be a matter of time before Kane shakes off his World Cup fatigue to set his tally ticking over once again.

Asked if the striker was still to return to his best form, Pochettino said: “For me, he is in his best form whether he scores or doesn’t score. I don’t have any doubt that he’s in his best form. He worked a lot for the team and I’m sure that he’s going to score.

“But he can’t score three goals in every game.”

Kane, who became a father for the second time on Wednesday, Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli all started at St James’ Park despite only returning to training on Monday following their endeavours in Russia.

Vertonghen and Alli both scored either side of Joselu’s equaliser – the Goal Decision System showed the defender’s header was nine millimetres over the line – with all the goals coming inside the opening 18 minutes.

Pochettino has warned his international stars they are not guaranteed a place in his team.

Dele Alli, left, heads in Spurs’ second at St James’ Park (Owen Humphreys/PA)

He said: “It’s not because they were at the World Cup, they are sure to play in the team. That is the most important thing: if we want to win something, if we want to challenge for big things, we all need to put our minds and energy into the collective and understand that the collective is the most important thing.

“If individual goals and targets are the priority for them, it’s sure that they are not going to help the team and that is why they are going to be out of the squad.”

If Spurs enjoyed the better of the first half, they found themselves hanging on after the break with Mohamed Diame and substitute Salomon Rondon both denied by the woodwork to leave Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez bemoaning his luck.

Newcastle new boy Salomon Rondon was denied by the woodwork (Owen Humphreys/PA)

He said: “We deserved at least a draw. We played against a very good team, you could see the quality that they have. But at the same time, you could see our team spirit, our work-rate and also the chances that we had, so I think we deserved a little bit more.”

The game was played out against the backdrop of protests against Magpies owner Mike Ashley with several hundred fans staging a demonstration outside the Northumberland Street branch of Sports Direct in the city centre before kick-off and more chanting their disapproval inside the stadium as time ran down.

Asked about the atmosphere, Benitez said: “I said that after the window was closed, we cannot change anything. My job is to be sure that the players give everything, and the fans have to be behind the team like they were last year and they were today.

“The message we have tried to give is very clear – focus on the pitch, focus on football.”

Press Association

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