Monday 19 February 2018

Kane injury takes shine off Tottenham victory

Harry Kane is carried off on a stretcher towards the end of yesterday’s game. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Harry Kane is carried off on a stretcher towards the end of yesterday’s game. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Matt Law

Mauricio Pochettino is sweating on the fitness of Harry Kane after the striker scored Tottenham Hotspur's winner, but had to leave the pitch on a stretcher with an ankle injury yesterday.

Tottenham 1 Sunderland 0

Kane netted his second Premier League goal in as many games just before the hour mark after taking advantage of a terrible mistake from Sunderland central defender Papy Djilobodji.

But the 23-year-old twisted his ankle under a challenge from Djilobodji with just three minutes remaining and will now have a scan today, with Spurs fearing ligament damage.

"It was tough, he twisted the ankle," said Pochettino. "Now he feels pain and we see tomorrow. It's painful and we need to wait.

"There may be a problem with his ligaments, but it's difficult to assess today.

"It's difficult without Harry Kane, but that's why we signed Vincent Janssen, and he is working well. He's a striker that can give us a lot of things. That's why you sign players, to arrive in the moment when you need them at the same level."

There was better news for Spurs over the fitness of Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele, who were also withdrawn, as Pochettino claimed that the duo had suffered nothing worse than cramp.

"They only felt cramps in the hamstring, it's not that big an issue," the manager said. "When you're in different competitions, the Champions League is a different competition, we spent a lot of energy on Wednesday - it's different to the Europa League. It's new for us, so it's important to learn.

"All the players are internationals, they come back after a difficult summer, playing in the Euros, difficult holidays, pre-season and it's difficult to get fit."

This had been a good weekend for Jose Mourinho cast-offs until Djilobodji attempted - and failed - to add himself to the list of names proving the former Chelsea manager wrong.

Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku continue to show that Mourinho made huge mistakes by not giving them proper chances at Stamford Bridge.

Djilobodji, though, provided evidence that a single minute of action for the Blues was probably about right by helping Tottenham on their way to three points.

It remains one of the great mysteries of the summer transfer window as to why Sunderland paid £8m for Djilobodji, and there was no solving it at White Hart Lane.

The 27-year-old's defending matched the visitors' pink and purple third kit - comical.

As frustration grew that Tottenham had not turned their dominance into goals, Kyle Walker sent in a cross that was headed across goal by Dele Alli straight into the path of Djilobodji. But, having chested the ball down, the Senegal international contrived to miss what should have been a straightforward clearance and Kane coolly side-footed past Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

The manner in which Sunderland conceded was particularly harsh on Pickford, who had demonstrated why he is so highly rated with a string of good saves and some smart positioning.

While it was Kane who grabbed the vital goal, it was Heung-Min Son who constantly ripped apart the Sunderland defence and provided Tottenham's biggest threat.

The South Korean hit the post in the first half and also planted a corner straight on to the head of Toby Alderweireld, but Pickford saved.

Sunderland's Adnan Januzaj was sent-off in the final stages of the game; having been booked for dissent, he picked up a needless second yellow card for a late foul on Spurs substitute Ben Davies. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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