Spurs Win Comfortably Against Leeds As More Matches Suffer COVID-19 Gloom

Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld celebrates with teammates after he scores his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 2, 2021.
Andy Rain / POOL / AFP

 

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were again Tottenham’s talismen in a 3-0 win over Leeds to kickstart their title challenge on Saturday but a third Premier League game this week was postponed due to coronavirus outbreaks.

Burnley’s clash with Fulham, scheduled for Sunday, was called off due to a number of positive cases among the Fulham squad.

Fulham’s trip to Tottenham was also postponed just hours before kick-off on Wednesday, to the frustration of Spurs boss Jose Mourinho.

But even as his side ended a four-game winless run with a return to form against Leeds, Mourinho also lambasted three of his players for breaking coronavirus restrictions.

Giovani Lo Celso, Erik Lamela and Sergio Reguilon were pictured attending a large party with family and friends over Christmas along with West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini.

“We are extremely disappointed and strongly condemn this image showing some of our players with family and friends together at Christmas, particularly as we know the sacrifices everybody around the country made to stay safe over the festive period,” a Tottenham statement said. “The matter will be dealt with internally.”

The latest breach by players will do little to ease the pressure on the Premier League to halt the season as a “circuit-breaking” measure to cope with the soaring infection rates across England.

Despite the latest postponement, the Premier League again insisted there were no plans for a pause.

“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the League continues to have confidence in its COVID-19 protocols, fully backed by the Government, to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled,” the league said in a statement.

– ‘Telepathic’ Tottenham duo –

On the field, Kane and Son ended two games without a goal to move Tottenham up to third and within four points of leaders Liverpool and Manchester United.

Kane opened the scoring from the penalty spot before turning provider for Son to slot home his 100th goal for the club.

It was the 13th time Kane and Son had combined for a goal this term, equalling the Premier League record set by Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton for Blackburn in 1994-95.

“He knew I was there. Sometimes it is telepathic,” said Son

“To score 100 goals with one team is a big thing. I’m very proud. It’s a good way to start the new year.”

The South Korean then also got an assist early in the second-half when his corner was headed home by Toby Alderweireld.

At the other end of the table, Sheffield United remain without a win all season as they crept ever closer to a return to the Championship with a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

Jeffrey Schlupp opened the scoring after just four minutes before he was forced off with an injury and made way for Eberechi Eze.

The England under-21 international then ran from deep inside his own half past a couple of weak challenges before slotting into the far corner in first-half stoppage time.

A first win in six games eased the Eagles’ woes and moved them up to 12th.

The Blades, meanwhile, remain on just two points from 17 games, 11 adrift of safety.

-AFP

Gareth Bale, Harry Kane Fire Spurs Into League Cup Semis

Tottenham Hotspurs Welsh midfielder Gareth Bale (R) prepares to take a free kick during the English League Cup quarter final football match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at the bet365 Stadium, in Stoke on Trent on December 23, 2020. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)

 

Gareth Bale and Harry Kane were on target as Tottenham moved into the League Cup semi-finals with a 3-1 win against Championship side Stoke on Wednesday.

Wales forward Bale made the most of a rare start to put Jose Mourinho’s team at the Bet365 Stadium.

Jordan Thompson equalised for Stoke after the interval, but Ben Davies put Tottenham back in front with his first goal since 2017 before England captain Kane sealed a comfortable quarter-final success.

 

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane celebrates scoring his team’s third goal during the English League Cup quarter final football match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at the bet365 Stadium, in Stoke on Trent on December 23, 2020. – (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)

 

Tottenham are without a win in their last three Premier League games, including successive defeats against Liverpool and Leicester which dented their title challenge.

But Mourinho, a four-time League Cup winner with Chelsea and Manchester United, galvanised his players to avoid an upset in the Potteries.

Tottenham’s most recent silverware came in the League Cup in 2008 and they remain in the hunt to end that drought after joining Manchester City and Brentford in the semi-finals.

 

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (L) shoots past Stoke City’s Australian defender Harry Souttar (C) to score their third goal during the English League Cup quarter final football match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at the bet365 Stadium, in Stoke on Trent on December 23, 2020. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock recently branded the Stoke’s away dressing room as a “pigsty”.

Stoke reportedly upgraded their facilities in time for Tottenham’s visit, but Mourinho’s description of the “very good tent” his team had been given hardly sounded luxurious.

The unglamourous changing area and wet and windy conditions suggested an uncomfortable evening could be in store, but Tottenham were on their game from the start.

Mourinho made seven changes from Sunday’s defeat against Leicester as Dele Alli made his first start since November 26 amid talk of a January move to Paris Saint-Germain.

– Mourinho rebuke –
Stoke were without four goalkeepers due to injury and ineligibility, so 37-year-old Andy Lonergan made his first start since March 2019.

Lonergan was called into action early on when he punched away Kane’s rising drive, but he was picking the ball out of the net in the 22nd minute.

Harry Winks’ inswinging cross reached Bale in the Stoke area and he guided a precise header past Lonergan into the far corner.

It was Bale’s third goal since returning to his former club on loan from Real Madrid in September.

 

Stoke City’s English defender Danny Batth (R) vies for the ball against Tottenham Hotspurs’ Welsh midfielder Gareth Bale (L) during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at the bet365 Stadium, in Stoke on Trent on December 23, 2020. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)

 

Alli almost doubled Tottenham’s lead when he ran onto Kane’s pass and hit a low shot that Lonergan saved with his feet.

Mourinho went for the kill by sending on Son Heung-min for Bale at half-time, but it was Stoke who equalised against the run of play with their first shot on target.

Jacob Brown’s low cross found Thompson and he slotted past Hugo Lloris.

Alli’s wayward flick had conceded possession in the build-up to the goal and Mourinho was quick to issue a stinging rebuke on the touchline before hauling off the out-of-favour midfielder.

Mourinho’s instant action sparked a response from Tottenham.

Davies put them back in front in the 71st minute when the left-back’s 25-yard drive beat Lonergan and went in off the post.

Kane put the result beyond doubt in the 81st minute when he ran onto Moussa Sissoko’s pass and blasted a typically predatory finish into the roof of the net for his 16th goal of the season.

In Wednesday’s other quarter-final, Everton host Manchester United.

United are hoping to move a step closer to the first silverware of boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign.

Everton haven’t won a major trophy since the 1995 FA Cup, but are flying high in fourth place in the Premier League.

Manchester City, who have won the League Cup for the last three seasons, thrashed Arsenal 4-1 on Tuesday, while second-tier Brentford reached their first major cup semi-final with a shock 1-0 win against Newcastle.

Premier League Players Should Keep On ‘Taking The Knee’ In Racism Fight, Says Kane

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane appeals during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in London on November 29, 2020.
MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP

 

England captain Harry Kane says Premier League players should carry on taking the knee in support of the fight against racial injustice, using their profile to raise awareness of the issue.

Clubs began making the symbolic gesture before kick-off when football resumed after the coronavirus hiatus last season, and it has continued into the current campaign.

“I think we are a huge platform to share our voices across the world, to be honest,” Kane told the BBC.

“Obviously we have done a lot with Black Lives Matter and taking the knee before games.

“I hear people talking about taking the knee and whether we should still be doing it, and for me I think we should.”

Kane said regular supporters were seeing the same gesture repeated every week but it was important to educate new fans.

“I think if you look around the world, you see children watching the game for the first time, seeing us all take a knee and asking their parents why — I think it’s a great chance for people to explain why,” he added.

“I think education is the biggest thing we can do. Adults can teach generations what it means, and what it means to be together and help each other, no matter what your race.”

Kane was England skipper in October last year when their 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Bulgaria in Sofia was marred by racist chanting by home supporters.

“Myself, I’ve never been racially abused, I don’t know how that feels,” said the Tottenham striker.

“But my role is just to be there as a captain, a team-mate, and a friend. You want to be there for them, to listen to them and talk to them.

“As a player, I was embarrassed to be on that pitch and see that abuse to my friends and team-mates. I was proud of how everyone wanted to carry on and show on the pitch that we wanted to win.”

-AFP

Son Shines As Five Star Tottenham Devour Southampton

son and harry kane
Son and English striker, Harry Kane celebrating a goal during the match. Photo: [email protected]

 

South Korean star Heung-min Son was the star of the show, scoring four goals as Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham bashed Southampton 2-5 in a Premier League encounter Sunday.

Just 24 hours after Tottenham signed Gareth Bale, South Korea forward Son delivered a virtuoso display that showed Jose Mourinho’s side already have plenty of firepower.

Bale has returned to Tottenham on a season-long loan from Real Madrid seven years after he left the north London club for a then world record £85 million ($109 million) fee.

But the Wales forward will not be available until mid-October as he recovers from a knee injury, so Mourinho needs Son and Harry Kane to carry the attack until then.

No one would question the quality of that pair and they underlined the point with superb performances that ripped Southampton to pieces.

Danny Ings put Southampton ahead in the first half, but Son equalised before the break and scored three more in the second half.

Kane, who hit the back of the net twice in the first half only to have them ruled out for offside, capped a swaggering display with his second goal of the season.

After losing to Everton in their Premier League opener last weekend, Tottenham have lifted the gloom with this vibrant second half performance after the Bale coup.

Dele Alli was left out of Tottenham’s squad and Mourinho raised fresh questions about the midfielder’s future when he said: “We have too many players for some positions and some of them are paying the price for this.”

But Alli wasn’t missed thanks to Son and Kane’s heroics.

Tottenham were playing the second of five games in 10 days, an unrelenting schedule that Mourinho had derided as “crazy” and initially they looked fatigued.

Hugo Lloris made a superb save to keep Tottenham level when he tipped over Che Adams’ ferocious strike.

– Devastating Spurs –

Tottenham escaped again when Lloris rashly raced off his line and headed the ball straight at Ings, who curled into the empty net only to see the goal ruled out for handball by the Saints striker.

Southampton winger Moussa Djenepo hit the outside of a post with a curling effort from the edge of the area.

Ings has been linked with a move to Tottenham after a prolific campaign last term and the qualities that attracted Mourinho were on show as he put Southampton ahead in the 32nd minute.

Running onto Kyle Walker-Peters’ long pass, Ings displayed his astute movement as he got in behind Eric Dier, then demonstrated his predatory instincts by guiding his shot across Lloris into the far corner.

With Tottenham looking increasingly bedraggled, it was a surprise when they equalised against the run of play in first half stoppage-time.

Tanguy Ndombele picked out Kane on the left and the striker’s cross reached Son, who ignored the acute angle to clip a sublime finish past Alex McCarthy.

Son’s goal was a huge boost to Tottenham’s morale and they took the lead with a well-crafted goal two minutes after half-time.

Once again it was Kane and Son who prised open the Southampton defence as the England captain fed the South Korean with a delicate pass.

Son surged through on goal and calmly guided a precise strike past McCarthy with his left foot.

Tottenham’s star forwards weren’t finished yet and they left Southampton for dead in the 64th minute.

Dropping deep to devastating effect, Kane was the provider with a superb lofted pass over the Saints defence and Son finished in emphatic fashion.

Southampton had no answers to Kane and Son and another deft pass from the Tottenham striker in the 73rd minute picked out the South Korean, who was never going to miss from close-range.

Kane and Son have now combined for more Premier League goals (24) than any other duo in the competition since August 2015.

Kane got the goal he deserved with a close-range finish in the 82nd minute before Ings netted again with a 90th minute penalty awarded for handball by Matt Doherty.

AFP

Kane Scores As Tottenham Edge West Ham In London Derby

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (R) scores the second goal past West Ham United's Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on June 23, 2020. Julian Finney / POOL / AFP
Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (R) scores the second goal past West Ham United’s Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on June 23, 2020. Julian Finney / POOL / AFPs As 

 

Harry Kane scored his first goal of 2020 as Tottenham breathed new life into their challenge for a Champions League place next season with a 2-0 win over West Ham on Tuesday.

The England captain looked far more like his old self after a laboured performance in his first appearance for six months against Manchester United on Friday and was rewarded with a goal eight minutes from time.

Tomas Soucek’s own goal had opened the scoring as West Ham remain precariously poised outside the relegation zone only on goal difference.

Jose Mourinho’s men were well worthy of a first win in eight games dating back to February.

Victory takes Spurs to within six points of the top four and within one of Manchester United in fifth.

Should Manchester City’s appeal against a two-season ban from European competitions not prove successful, fifth would be good enough to qualify for the 2020/21 Champions League.

In keeping with many of the 14 games since the Premier League’s restart seven days ago, this was another slow burner as Spurs took time to start picking holes in West Ham’s rearguard.

Mourinho expressed his delight pre-match at having six fit attacking options available for the first time since taking charge in November.

The Portuguese recalled Lucas Moura and Dele Alli to partner Kane and Son Heung-min in attack with Steven Bergwijn and Erik Lamela dropping to the bench.

Son thought he had broken the deadlock on the stroke of half-time with a smart finish at Lukasz Fabianski’s near post, but the goal was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

Spurs still had an even better chance to go in ahead at the break only for Lucas to skew wide when unmarked inside the area.

Mourinho launched an impassioned defence of his record of working with world-class strikers on the eve of the game after criticism that his playing style could see Kane look for pastures new.

And Kane had no shortage of opportunities after the break as his near post flick was turned behind by Fabianksi before he fired wide after sprinting the full length of the field as Spurs broke dangerously from a West Ham corner.

In between times, Pablo Fornals dragged wide West Ham’s big chance to go in front and aid their battle to beat the drop.

But David Moyes’s men were undone by one of their own when Soucek unwittingly turned a corner into his own net 26 minutes from time.

Jarrod Bowen smashed a shot against the post as the visitors suddenly had to alter their gameplan of containing Tottenham to look for an equaliser.

But in doing so, they left themselves exposed at the back and Kane timed his run perfectly from a Son pass before coolly slotting past Fabianski and collapsing to the ground in a mixture of relief and exhaustion.

AFP

Mourinho Says Kane ‘Irreplaceable’ Ahead Of Tottenham, Liverpool Clash

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (L) congratulates English striker Harry Kane after the UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on November 26, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said he would get “depressed” if he wallowed in the news that Harry Kane is to be missing for at least three months.

The Spurs striker has undergone surgery on a torn hamstring that will see him miss the majority of the remainder of the season at club level and in a race to be match fit to lead England at Euro 2020.

“If I speak too much about Harry, I get a bit depressed and then you are going to say he is miserable and in a bad mood,” said Mourinho, ahead of Premier League leaders Liverpool’s visit to north London on Saturday.

“Harry is irreplaceable. You know that we cannot play like we normally play when Harry Kane is in the team. We cannot do it the same way as we do with Harry.”

Spurs have been linked with a move for AC Milan’s Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek as cover for Kane’s absence with Tottenham needing to chase down a six-point gap to Chelsea to qualify for the Champions League next season.

However, Mourinho said he is willing to wait until the summer to add to his squad.

“If the boss arrives with the solution for these difficult months then so be it,” added the Portuguese.

“But if we don’t find the right opportunity or the right solution we are going to wait until summer to make decision for the evolution of the team.”

Kane is just one of a host of absences Mourinho must contend with for the visit of the European champions, who are looking for a record 20th win from their opening 21 games to the league season.

Moussa Sissoko is also absent until April, while Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Danny Rose and Tanguy Ndombele remain out.

Club captain Lloris has at least returned to training after three months out with a dislocated elbow suffered in a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Brighton in October.

The French number one has yet to feature under Mourinho, but he is looking forward to being able to call on Lloris’s experience after a difficult spell for Paulo Gazzaniga in goal.

“Lloris has not played a game for me. Ben has played one and did very, very well. It’s good news. By the end of the month we will have two new players,” Mourinho added.

“We have a goalkeeper that is doing his best and we have confidence in him but for Hugo to be back after such an important injury is good for him.”

Spurs Boss Mourinho Expecting ‘Bad News’ On Kane Injury

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos.
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho said on Friday he was expecting “bad news” on Harry Kane’s hamstring injury after the England captain limped out of the 1-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day.

The Tottenham boss said the full extent of the problem would soon become apparent.

Kane pulled up as he slotted home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick 15 minutes from time on Wednesday but was flagged offside.

“I don’t know yet, I think maybe later today we have news,” Mourinho said. “But if you ask me just my feeling, good news or bad news, I am more bad news than good news, what the player felt, Harry Kane leaving a match the way he did.

“He didn’t think twice, didn’t take him two seconds to realise the severity of the situation.”

Spurs, who are sixth in the Premier League, face Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

Southampton Edge Tottenham As Kane Limps Off Injured

Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld (C) vies with Southampton’s Irish striker Shane Long (2nd R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on January 1, 2020.
Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Tottenham’s push for a top-four finish in the Premier League suffered another setback on Wednesday as Danny Ings’s winner handed Southampton a well-deserved 1-0 win at St Mary’s, while England striker Harry Kane limped off with a hamstring injury.

Ings produced the one real moment of quality in the game by lifting the ball over Toby Alderweireld before firing home his ninth goal in as many Premier League starts to lift the Saints up to 12th, six points clear of the relegation zone.

There was little response from Jose Mourinho’s men as they slipped six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, apart from the moment when Kane injured himself as he converted Christian Eriksen’s free-kick, but was flagged offside before hobbling down the tunnel.

READ ALSO: Brighton Deny Chelsea Vital Win In New Year Fixture

Ings’s goals have shot Southampton out of the bottom three in recent weeks and Spurs were unable to cope with the threat the former Liverpool striker early on.

Inside the first five minutes, Ings saw a shot blocked inside the area before right-back Cedric Soares headed wastefully wide from Ryan Bertrand’s teasing cross.

Tottenham also had their chances at the other end in an open start as Alex McCarthy turned Kane’s deflected effort behind and Dele Alli saw half-hearted claims for a penalty waived away.

Travel-Sick Spurs

Spurs have now gone a calendar year without a clean sheet away from home in the league and it was no surprise that Ings proved too sharp and skillful for a defence that Mourinho has been unable to tighten up since taking charge six weeks ago.

Jack Stephens’s long ball over the top caught the Tottenham backline square and Ings coolly flicked the ball over the head of Alderweireld before slotting his 15th goal of the season past the helpless Paulo Gazzaniga.

Southampton could have been further ahead by the break as only a last-ditch block from Alderweireld prevented Nathan Redmond turning in Stuart Armstrong’s dangerous cross.

The Belgian defender was lucky to escape without conceding a penalty early in the second period as his arms were raised when he blocked Redmond’s cross inside the penalty area.

Referee Mike Dean waived away claims for a spot-kick and was surprisingly not overruled by a VAR review.

Southampton had only kept one clean sheet in the league since mid-September, but they coped comfortably as Kane, Alli, Eriksen, and Lucas Moura struggled to create.

Tottenham’s afternoon went from bad to worse when Kane pulled up as he slotted home Eriksen’s free-kick 15 minutes from time, but was flagged offside.

The visitors ended the game in search of an equaliser without a recognised striker on the pitch with Son Heung-min also absent due to suspension.

Mourinho’s frustration boiled over as he was shown a yellow card after an altercation with the Southampton bench.

Moura’s deflected shot that skewed just wide was the closest Tottenham came to an equaliser, but even a point would have been more than they deserved to leave Mourinho with plenty to ponder ahead of Liverpool’s visit in their next league outing in 10 days’ time.

AFP

Kane Hopes To Build ‘Strong Relationship’ With Mourinho At Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (L) congratulates English striker Harry Kane after the UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on November 26, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

Harry Kane wants to build a “strong relationship” with new manager Jose Mourinho that will help take Tottenham to the next level.

Kane, whose two goals in the 4-2 win over Olympiakos helped book a Champions League knockout place, was a staunch supporter of former boss Mauricio Pochettino, but he knows Mourinho could be the man to help him win silverware with Spurs.

The Portuguese coach has a record of strong relationships with strikers, with Didier Droba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Diego Costa all excelling under him and Kane wants to add his name to that list.

“It’s early days, we have a good relationship so far. We talk, we try and help the team,” said Kane, who became the fastest player to 20 Champions League goals.

“Obviously me being one of the leaders in the team he looks to me for feelings and advice on the team.

“When you are winning games it definitely helps your relationship. Hopefully we can build a strong relationship.”

Spurs are through to the last 16 of the Champions League for the third successive year and can travel to Bayern Munich for the final Group B game with their position in second guaranteed.

They enjoyed a memorable run in last season’s knockout stages, culminating in a run to the final, and Kane wants his side to build on that.

“We know what we did last year in the knockout stages and we have to take that positive energy and try and do similar and go even further,” he said.

“We have got a quality squad, no doubt about that. We have got one of the best squads in Europe.”

AFP

Kane Challenges Tottenham To Bring Champions League Spirit Into Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Red Star Belgrade at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, on October 22, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

Harry Kane says Tottenham’s 5-0 Champions League mauling of Red Star Belgrade will count for little unless they use it as a catalyst to turn around their miserable Premier League form.

Tuesday’s result at home against the Serbian champions revives Mauricio Pochettino’s sides hopes of European progress after a humiliating 7-2 defeat by Bayern Munich earlier this month.

Spurs, who reached last season’s Champions League final, are second in Group B with four points after three matches, behind leaders Bayern.

READ ALSO: Police Recover 39 Bodies In Container Near London

Kane, who scored twice against Red Star, said he hoped Tottenham would take the momentum from their win into their match against Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

“At home we were expected to win this game so we can’t get too carried away with it,” he said. “We have to stay focused and take the positives and take them into the Premier League.

“It is exactly what we needed, a great performance, a lot of energy, plenty of goals, a clean sheet — a perfect night.

“But it doesn’t stop here, it was a game we were expected to win. We have got a very tough game on Sunday so I hope we can take momentum into that.”

Spurs have only won three of their nine Premier League games so far and are in seventh place after some patchy performances, five points off the top four.

– Tough game –

Kane admits his side are playing catch-up and knows it will not get any easier against Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying side.

“It is always better when you are coming off a win rather than a loss or a draw,” said the England captain. “But of course we know in the Premier League we are far behind and have a lot of catching up to do.

“Sunday will be a tough game. They have started the season very well so we have to make sure we put in a performance similar to Tuesday.”

Dele Alli, recalled to the starting line-up for the past couple of matches, said Tottenham’s players remain “1000 percent” behind Pochettino.

“When things are not going our way it is easy for people to try and get at the manager but we need to look at ourselves as players,” said the midfielder. “We are doing that and we are going to keep working hard.”

Despite Tottenham’s struggles, Alli, whose season has been blighted by injury and poor form, said the reaction from outside the club had been over the top.

“It is strange because since we have been together here we probably have not been through this situation,” he said.

“But I do not think it is that much of a big deal. We have just got to keep working hard and focus on ourselves, not listen to too much that is going on around the outside.”

AFP

Champions League: Kane, Son Double Up To Reawaken Tottenham’s Challenge

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (C) scores his team’s fifth goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Red Star Belgrade at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, on October 22, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane combined to put Tottenham’s troubles at ease by both scoring twice in a 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade to put their Champions League campaign back on track on Tuesday.

Last season’s finalists were thrashed 7-2 at home by Bayern Munich in their previous European outing and have won just two of their last eight games in the Premier League.

They moved back into pole position for a place in the last 16 by blowing away the Serbian champions.

Kane’s near post header opened the scoring before a Son double put the outcome beyond doubt before half-time.

Erik Lamela smashed home a fourth and Kane rounded off the scoring 18 minutes from time on a night when Tottenham clicked back into gear.

Son was restored to the starting line-up after being left on the bench for Spurs’ latest disappointing display a 1-1 home draw against bottom-of-the-table Watford.

The South Korean had been rested just days after returning from a tense World Cup qualifier in North Korea. He has been a shining light among a dramatic dip in form from many of his teammates this season and got his reward on a night Mauricio Pochettino will hope proves to be a turning point.

Kane has continued to score goals and is now up to 15 for club and country this season.

The England captain opened the floodgates when he met Lamela’s in-swinging corner on nine minutes.

Spurs also took an early lead against Bayern in a bright opening half hour before a second half collapse against the German giants.

But there was never any danger of a repeat against far more limited opponents, especially after Son deservedly doubled the hosts’ lead.

Lamela was again the creator with a teasing cross for Son to meet sweetly on the half-volley.

Pochettino admitted on the eve of the game that speculation over his future was normal, despite the success he has achieved in turning Tottenham from Europa League regulars to Champions League contenders over the past five years.

However, the Argentine was serenaded by a home support soothed by the sight of Spurs returning to form, for 90 minutes at least.

A much tougher task awaits on Sunday when Spurs travel to Liverpool in a repeat of last season’s Champions League final with revenge on their minds.

But another adventure into the knockout stages of the Champions League at least now looks probable for Pochettino’s men, as they moved a point ahead of Red Star into second place in Group B behind Bayern.

After a brief spell of resistence from the visitors, Son made sure the three points were safe before the break by finishing off a swift counter-attack from Tanguy Ndombele’s pass.

Spurs should have had far more than two more after the break. Lamela could have had a 15-minute hat-trick as he missed two glorious chances either side of a thumping left-foot finish from Serge Aurier’s pass.

Son was then withdrawn to keep him fresh for the trip to Anfield, but the chances continued to flow and Kane rounded off the scoring when his side-foot finish nestled in the far corner.

AFP

Euro 2020 Qualifier: Kane Hits Hat-Trick As England Thrash Bulgaria

England’s striker Harry Kane celebrates scoring his team’s second goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying first round Group A football match between England and Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium in London on September 7, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Harry Kane kept England on course to qualify for Euro 2020 as the skipper’s hat-trick inspired a 4-0 demolition of Bulgaria on Saturday.

Kane punished woeful Bulgaria defending to open the scoring in the first half at Wembley.

The Tottenham striker netted again with a penalty soon after the interval before Raheem Sterling struck to put England in complete control.

Kane claimed his second international hat-trick with another penalty, taking him to 25 goals in 40 England appearances.

Gareth Southgate’s side sit top of Group A with three successive victories and 14 goals to their credit.

Their next qualifier is against second placed Kosovo at Southampton on Tuesday.

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Such is the weakness of England’s group that the 2018 World Cup semi-finalists already look odds-on to qualify for Euro 2020.

The only issue between now and the start of the tournament next June is how Southgate configures his squad to ensure they start as one of the main contenders for the trophy.

Southgate earned criticism on social media for not giving starts to in-form youngsters Jadon Sancho and Mason Mount against Bulgaria.

But, before kick-off, he defended his decision to stick with his established players, saying: “We have to win matches. It’s not a case of giving people caps. We’re trying to qualify for a European Championship.”

Kieran Trippier was a beneficiary of Southgate’s faith in his proven troops, the Atletico Madrid right-back earning a recall ahead of Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Trippier was caught out of position early on when Marcelinho got in behind him and picked out Wanderson for a shot that was too close to England keeper Jordan Pickford.

That was the low point of a subdued start from England, but Bulgaria, adopting a defensive 4-5-1 formation, were so cautious that they allowed Southgate’s men to gradually find their rhythm.

Kane had the ball in the net from Sterling’s cross in the 19th minute, but the captain’s close-range effort was correctly ruled out for offside.

 Farcical defending

Kane didn’t have to wait long for his first goal as he capitalised on Bulgaria’s farcical defending in the 24th minute.

Recklessly trying to play inside their own penalty area, Bulgaria were caught out as Georgi Sarmov’s backpass to Plamen Iliev prompted the keeper to hurriedly poke towards Vasil Bozhikov.

Sterling sensed Bulgaria’s panic and nipped in to alertly steal possession before clipping his pass back towards Kane, who slotted into the empty net from close-range.

The inclusion of Everton’s Michael Keane alongside Harry Maguire at the heart of England’s defence underlined a lack of depth at that position.

Keane has suffered from injury and confidence issues since he left Burnley two years ago, while Maguire had to go off for a few minutes during the warm-up after accidently clashing heads with team-mate Declan Rice.

Neither looked sharp when Galin Ivanov found space between them to meet Strahil Popov’s cross, only for the winger to waste his golden opportunity to equalise by nodding a weak header straight at Pickford.

Bulgaria squandered another chance immediately after half-time when Wanderson was granted time and space for a shot that Pickford repelled at his near post.

England were roused by that escape and killed off the visitors in the 49th minute.

Marcus Rashford’s incisive raid carried him into the Bulgaria area, where he was tripped by Nikolay Bodurov, earning a penalty that Kane dispatched with ease.

With Bulgaria by now well out of their depth, England bagged a third goal in the 55th minute as Rashford fed Kane and his cross was bundled in by Sterling on the goal-line.

Sancho and Mount came on in the closing stages, but it was Kane who hogged the spotlight.

He completed his treble in the 73rd minute, drilling in his second penalty after winning the spot-kick himself with a rampaging run that was ended by a foul from Kristian Dimitrov.

AFP