Kane leaves Pochettino speechless
Kane leaves Pochettino speechless
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted he was running out of words to describe Harry Kane after the striker boosted his side’s hopes of Champions League qualification.
Kane scored twice as the Spurs beat relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers 2-1 on Saturday, taking his tally to 26 goals in all competitions and moving his side to within three points of fourth-place Manchester United.
The forward had failed to score in his previous three games but he took both his goals with aplomb to cap a fine display in front of watching England manager Roy Hodgson.
Not for the first time this season, Pochettino was left to reflect on a match-winning contribution from the 21-year-old, although the Spurs manager refused to be drawn on his chances of a first England call-up.
“It’s difficult to say anything else about Harry. His performance today (Saturday) shows his strength to keep working,” the Argentine said.
“It’s Roy Hodgson’s decision if he plays for England or not but all of us here in the Tottenham family are happy with him.”
Kane himself is taking nothing for granted ahead of England’s 2016 European Championship qualifier against Lithuania and friendly against Italy at the end of this month.
“I just need to keep doing what I’m doing,” he said. “There are still a few more games until the international break, so I just need to do the best I can for the Spurs.
“I’m loving my football, being out there with my teammates and my mates. I feel good and confident; it’s important for a striker to have that. The second goal was a nice, composed finish.”
Midfielder Ryan Mason will also have caught Hodgson’s eye in a hard-fought victory that ended frantically after former Spurs midfielder Sandro pulled a goal back for the home side in the 75th minute.
“You can see the performance from the English players was fantastic,” said Pochettino.
“Ryan played well, but so did the team. They all showed a big character. This type of game is when you can see that the team improve and show the character I think is so important for us to get the three points.”
Tottenham’s season had been in danger of unraveling after they were knocked out of the Europa League by Fiorentina and then lost to Chelsea in the League Cup final within the space of four days last week.
It leaves a top-four finish as their sole objective and they have now recorded back-to-back league wins after those twin setbacks.
“The reaction after going out of Europe has been fantastic. It was difficult after the defeat against Fiorentina,” Pochettino said.
“I think the response has been fantastic from the squad in the big games that have followed. We have to go away and now train hard to focus on our next match against Manchester United.”
Defeat left QPR in the bottom three, three points adrift of safety.
Manager Chris Ramsey was frustrated his side was denied two strong penalty appeals, particularly when Spurs’ Nabil Bentaleb appeared to handle the ball inside the box in the closing stages.
“There are sometimes decisions where there are fine lines but when you are in our position you have to grab whatever you can, so I am disappointed they didn’t go our way,” he said.
“You can see the players applied themselves well today but when you play the top teams they have the quality to punish any mistake.”
Veteran QPR defender Rio Ferdinand, 36, came in for criticism from media pundits and social media users, particularly for playing Kane onside in the buildup to his second goal in the 68th minute.
But Ramsey said: “I think Rio Ferdinand played well. When goals go in, people look to blame someone but Rio should be praised for the way he is applying himself in training and the way he is playing.”
Tottenham’s Harry Kane celebrates his second goal during the English Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur at Loftus Road in London on Saturday. Adrian Dennis / Agence France Presse
(China Daily 03/09/2015 page21)
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