Pochettino holds out Real hope for Kane

AFP PHOTO / OLLY GREENWOOD /

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes there’s still a chance of leading scorer Harry Kane playing against holders Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday

England striker Kane has scored 13 Premier League goals this season and has hit five in the European Cup against Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia.

Kane, however, missed Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday with a hamstring problem suffered against Liverpool the previous weekend, with the injury also sidelining him from Spurs’ midweek League Cup loss to West Ham.

But with Pochettino’s side failing to score in Manchester, he’ll want his goal talisman back to face Spanish giants Real at Wembley.

“We will see in the next few days if he can arrive to be at the right level to play against Real Madrid,” said Pochettino. “We will need to assess him and then make a decision.”

Pochettino’s side missed the chance to go second in the Premier League ahead of United but the Tottenham manager had no time for suggestions that Saturday’s reverse was all down to being without Kane.

“You’re always going to miss your main striker and Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world, of course,” said Pochettino.

“But that is not an excuse for today. We did not lose this game because Harry Kane was not here.”

The Argentinian added: “Football is a collective sport and you always have to adapt when someone is not fit to play. I was happy with everyone’s performance and I think we deserved more than zero points.”

United’s slender victory maintained the club’s 100 percent start to the season at Old Trafford and they have yet to concede a goal at home this campaign.

‘Desire’ impresses Mourinho

United also got back to winning ways in the Premier League following their dire 2-1 loss away to Huddersfield last weekend that left Jose Mourinho bemoaning his side’s attitude.

But he was much happier after United stretched their lead over title rivals Spurs to three points thanks to super sub Anthony Martial’s 81st-minute goal.

“I liked the performance. If the result had been 0-0 or 1-1 my feelings with the players would be the same,” said the United manager.

“They gave absolutely everything, every ball was like the most important one of their career. The focus and concentration was there against a quality team, the desire.

“I am even happier because we beat a very good team. I like the (Spurs) team very very much.”

Some United fans at Old Trafford were unhappy that Mourinho brought off Marcus Rashford in the 70th minute. They booed the decision but Mourinho’s choice was vindicated 11 minutes later with Martial’s winner.

“Anthony Martial is the same position as Marcus but is more comfortable than Marcus dropping in between the lines to help drive the ball and not just attack space,” added Mourinho.

“And I told him to do that and to play from (Romelu) Lukaku. He was against three very good central defenders, but they had a hard match for 60/70 minutes against Lukaku and Rashford.

“So maybe he can have a lucky shot but his desire was good and the goal gives us two more points than 0-0. It was deserved.”

Mourinho put his finger against his lips in a gesture at the final whistle that appeared to be aimed at home fans who’d initially been upset by the Rashford substitution.

“Calm down, relax a little bit. Speak, speak, speak — don’t be so nervous, relax,” Mourinho said when explaining what he had meant by his action.



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