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Pochettino calls on Kane to maintain determination after Shearer's record falls Featured

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Published in England Premier League
Wednesday, 27 December 2017 08:53

Mauricio Pochettino has urged Harry Kane never to grow complacent after Tottenham's star striker smashed the Premier League record for goals in a calendar year with a match-winning hat-trick.

Kane needed just one strike to surpass Alan Shearer's 22-year-old record of 36 goals but he broke it in style with a superb Wembley treble in the 5-2 demolition of Southampton.
He put Spurs into a two-goal half-time lead with a close-range header and then a simple tap-in before completing his second successive hat-trick with a dinked finish over Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

It means Kane has reached his final tally for 2017 in 36 league appearances, six fewer than the 42 games Shearer played for Blackburn in 1995.

Pochettino says the 24-year-old can get even better if he keeps his feet firmly on the ground.
"That is a massive point for everyone and must be for him. To be better maybe it's a very small step," Pochettino said.

"The problem is that when you're at this level you need to fight with all your determination to keep this level. To keep this level you need to work harder than before, be more professional.

"You need to be more focused in everything. If you achieve something and think 'Ok, now if I need to run 10 metres I'll only run nine', to try to cheat yourself, that is a massive problem.

"For me the most important thing is to keep the same mentality, the same determination. The secret is to work hard. There's no other secret."
Kane's third goal against Southampton also moves him ahead of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi for the most goals scored for club and country by any player in Europe's major leagues this year.

"We are all so, so, so, so happy because it's an amazing thing to celebrate. For me, he's world class," Pochettino said.

"I think today, (number) one striker in the world, specific position, who's better than him?"

After Spurs controlled the first half in front of a relatively subdued crowd, the game became more frantic after the restart.

Dele Alli and Son Heung-min each struck to make it 4-0 to Spurs, while Southampton pulled goals back through Sofiane Boufal and substitute Dusan Tadic.

"The game was open; 5-2 but maybe (it could have) finished 7-4," Pochettino said.

"But I am so pleased to finish in this way the year and looking forward now for the next year. I think it was good to finish this way here in Wembley."

As good as Spurs were offensively, it was a poor performance from the visitors as their winless run stretched to seven top-flight matches.

Saints manager Mauricio Pellegrino left defender Virgil van Dijk out of his squad for the second successive match and faced chants of, 'You're getting sacked in the morning' from sections of the away support.

"I decide that it's the best for the team. I know that around Virgil there will be a lot of speculation but this is my decision," Pellegrino said.

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  • Harry Kane: I'll stay at Tottenham if we win trophies

    Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is happy to remain at the London club as long as they win silverware and provide him with the environment to improve as a player.
    Kane scored a quickfire double on Sunday to take his goal tally for the season in all competitions to 26 as Tottenham defeated third tier AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup third round at Wembley.
    The 24-year-old has attracted interest from major European clubs in recent seasons, with Real Madrid's former president Ramon Calderon stating in October that he expected the Spanish club to try to sign the forward.
    Asked what Tottenham needed to do to ensure he commits his long-term future to the club, Kane said: "We want to start winning trophies so that's the aim.

    "As long as the club keeps doing that then I'm happy here. I've always said, just keep progressing, keep getting better."
    Tottenham lost to Chelsea in the 2015 League Cup final in Kane's breakthrough year and have not won a major trophy since lifting the League Cup in the 2007-08 season.

    The Londoners sit 21 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with 41 points from 22 games and Kane believes the FA Cup offers them a realistic chance of a trophy.
    "We want to win a trophy somehow and this is a competition we're looking at to do that. "
    Tottenham return to league action on Saturday with the visit of ninth-placed Everton.

  • Mauricio Pochettino knows a win at Watford will lift the mood

    Mauricio Pochettino admits he cannot afford to be downbeat as he tries to lift Tottenham out of their mid-season slump.

    Spurs face in-form Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday when they will be chasing their first Premier League win in four matches.
    The dip has seen Pochettino's men slide to seventh in the table, with Champions League qualification now their only realistic target this term.

    Defeat to Leicester on Tuesday followed a dreary draw at home to West Brom last weekend and Pochettino says it has been hard to hide his frustration.
    "It is so difficult because we take it so personally, the defeat. When we win I feel okay but when we lose it is like I am responsible," Pochettino said.

    "I don't like to share the responsibility of the defeat but that is more personal, more how I feel. And sometimes in a few hours, in a few days sometimes it is difficult to find your space and your place to think and you need to be alone.

    "But of course always it is not about you. You need to reflect when you are responsible about the team, about the staff, about everything you need to show the right message, the right emotion.

    "Sometimes when you are away, you go home and go to bed quick, maybe you do different things, but here when you have the responsibility to create good feelings and emotion and atmosphere, it is important sometimes not to show too much if you are disappointed."

    Tottenham have enjoyed a brilliant campaign in the Champions League, where they have already secured first place in Group H ahead of next week's game against Apoel Nicosia.

    But their European form has not been matched domestically, where they now sit 16 points behind run-away leaders Manchester City.
    "Of course it's true the expectation was massive this season," Pochettino said.

    "It was okay from the beginning, in the summer, not too much expectation. Then the team started doing well, and doing very well, and we beat Real Madrid, Liverpool, like this, and again the expectation was amazing.

    "And then a few results didn't arrive and after the defeat against Arsenal, it's like all negative again. In a few weeks, things can change again.

    "A few weeks ahead, maybe we win, win, win, win, and maybe we are in the top four, and we are going to talk in a different way. That is football."

    Erik Lamela is again likely to be named as a substitute against Watford after making his first appearance in over a year from the bench at Leicester.

    Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama, however, have hamstring and knee injuries respectively and are still out.

  • Tottenham group win proved doubters wrong, says Kane

    Tottenham Hotspur's qualification to the Champions League knockout stages as group winners has proved doubters wrong, striker Harry Kane said after the London side's 2-1 win over Borrusia Dortmund on Tuesday.

    Tottenham were expected struggle in a tough Group H that contained holders Real Madrid and 2013 finalists Dortmund but the London side have progressed to the knockout stages unbeaten with four wins and a draw after five of six fixtures.

    "The group we had, a lot of people doubted us and we wanted to prove them wrong," Kane, who scored the equaliser in Tuesday's game, told reporters after the match.

    "Hopefully we can build on this now for the rest of the campaign."
    Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino praised his team and compared this season's tough draw to last year's, when Spurs dropped to the Europa League after failing to progress from a group consisting of AS Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow.

    Pochettino also said that the win in Dortmund was a good response to last weekend's 2-0 defeat by local rivals Arsenal in the Premier League.

    "The reaction after Saturday was perfect," Pochettino told BT Sport. "The team stepped up and after Saturday, we were ready to compete here in a difficult game against a difficult team and we are so proud."

    Tottenham, who are fourth in the Premier League, host bottom side APOEL Nicosia in their final Group H game in December with their immediate attention turning to Saturday's league fixture against 17th-placed West Bromwich Albion.

  • Pochettino: Guardiola disrespectful over 'Harry Kane team' comments

    Mauricio Pochettino has hit back at Pep Guardiola's assessment of Tottenham as 'the Harry Kane team' by pointing out he never called his Barcelona side 'the Lionel Messi team'.

    Pochettino also branded Guardiola's comments, made before the international break, as "very disrespectful" and "sad" but insisted his Spurs players only laughed when they heard the Manchester City manager's remark.

    Kane has scored 11 goals in his last six appearances for Tottenham, and Guardiola, speaking a fortnight ago after City had just beaten Chelsea, said: "We saw again the Harry Kane team scores every day two or three goals."
    On Friday, Pochettino said: "That didn't affect me but the reality is it was very disrespectful for many people.

    "It's difficult to understand because he was part of the big success at Barcelona with Messi at his best, and I never said it was 'the Messi team'. I always said it was Barcelona or Pep Guardiola.

    "I think everyone deserves to be recognised as part of the success of the team. But I think many people took those words as very disrespectful for the club, and for many players that are here I think it's a strange situation."

  • Harry Kane's hot streak continues as England win in Lithuania

    LFF Stadium, World Cup qualifying Group F - Lithuania 0 England 1 (Kane pen 27')

    Harry Kane’s hot streak continued as he scored the winner in England’s 1-0 victory over Lithuania in their final qualifying match ahead of the World Cup in Russia.
    Having already won Group F after a 1-0 victory over Slovenia on Thursday, manager Gareth Southgate made seven changes to his team, handing Harry Winks and Harry Maguire debuts in a 3-4-3 formation for the match in Vilnius.

    In a disjointed performance, Dele Alli, back in the side after suspension, won a first-half penalty when he was felled by Ovidijus Verbackas. His Tottenham team-mate Kane duly dispatched the spot-kick for his 15th goal in his last 10 matches for club and country.

    Michael Keane had earlier gone close for the visitors, but in truth, England offered little in the way of clear-cut chances thereafter.

    Tottenham’s Winks was denied a goal on his debut when his shot was well saved by Ernestas Setkus, but it was Lithuania – who won only once in Group F – who threatened most; Jack Butland was forced into a good stop as Keane almost inadvertently sent the ball into his own net, while Deivydas Matulevicius spurned a late opportunity.
    Once again England did just enough to record the three points - they are now unbeaten in their last four campaigns in qualifying for major tournaments - but it was another unimaginative and unconvincing display from Southgate’s side.

    TALKING POINT

    3-4-3 isn't the answer for insipid England: Southgate opted for an experimental 3-4-3 formation, and while England’s front-three, Marcus Rashford, Alli and Kane, linked-up well, at times in the first half, the showing after the restart was incredibly flat and one-paced.

    There was at least some cause for optimism as the performance of debutant Winks in the centre of the park indicated the Spurs playmaker may have a role to play in Russia, while Harry Maguire, also making his debut, looked OK in defence.
    But all-in-all, it was simply not good enough. Southgate should probably go back to basics for the home friendlies against Brazil and Germany in November.

    MAN OF THE MATCH

    Marcus Rashford (England) - The Manchester United youngster was at nowhere near his brilliant best, but was probably England's stand-out player in the first half and looked most likely to make things happen.

    PLAYER RATINGS

    Lithuania: Setkus 7, Andriuskevicius 5, Klimavicius 5, Girdvainis 5, Borovskij 5, Zulpa 5, Slivka 5, Verbickas 4, Cernych 5, Novikovas 5, Sernas 6. Subs: Matulevicius 5,

    England: Butland 6, Keane 6, Maguire 7, Stones 6, Trippier 6, Winks 7, Henderson 5, Cresswell 7, Alli 7, Kane 7, Rashford 7. Subs: Sturridge 6, Lingard 6.

    KEY MOMENTS

    11’ - THE HOSTS SHOULD BE AHEAD! Sernas peels away from Maguire at the back post as a cross comes in, but somehow slices his first-time effort wide of the goal from inside the box. A let off for England!

    24’ - KEANE GOES CLOSE! Lithuania fail to clear Cresswell's deep free-kick, and the ball eventually sits up nicely for Keane just inside the box, but the Everton defender screws his first-time volley wide of the goal. That is the closest England have come.

    26’ - PENALTY TO ENGLAND! Alli is brought down inside the box by Verbickas, and the referee has no choice other than to point to the spot. This is the perfect chance for Kane to put the visitors ahead...
    27’ - GOAL - KANE SCORES! A superb penalty from England's talisman as he sends the ball into the bottom left corner. The goalkeeper dived the right way but couldn't get near it.

    52’ – CHANCE FOR WINKS! Setkus isn't at all convincing as he punches Cresswell's dangerous cross right into the path of Winks, but he makes amends with a smart save from the Tottenham playmaker's shot. Almost a debut goal for Winks.

    54’ - CHANCE FOR LITHUANIA! A dangerous low ball into the England box causes Keane all sorts of problems, and in an effort to concede a corner he almost inadvertently sends it into his own net! He is bailed out by Butland who makes a good reactive save.

    83’ - GREAT CHANCE TO EQUALISE! Matulevicius is released behind the England defence and the ball sits up perfectly for him, but his half-volley is struck straight at Butland who gathers on the second attempt. Either side of him and it was a goal.

    KEY STATS

    Harry Kane has scored 15 goals in his last 10 matches in all competitions for club and country.
    Of the 43 goals that Harry Kane has scored for club and country in 2017, only four have been penalties.
    A Spurs player has been directly involved in nine of England's last 11 goals across all competitions.
    England end their Group F programme with eight clean sheets in 10 matches.
    England have won all four of their previous encounters with Lithuania on the international stage, scoring 10 and conceding none in the process.

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