Harry Kane always gives his best, says Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino after another derby goal against Arsenal
PUBLISHED: 11:30 12 February 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Kane's goal on Saturday made it eight already for 2018 and seven against the Gunners, but Pochettino was quizzed about Alderweireld's absence
After finishing 2017 in stunning form, Harry Kane has showed no signs of slowing and continues to impress after netting his eighth goal of the calendar year for Spurs on Saturday.
The England forward headed past Petr Cech in the 49th minute to earn Tottenham Hotspur bragging rights over Arsenal at Wembley Stadium with a 1-0 victory.
It continued Kane’s great record versus the Gunners – he now has seven goals from his eight games against the club which released him as an eight-year-old.
But boss Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t think the 24-year-old plays better when he faces Arsenal, he said: “I think Harry Kane, every game he is with the same energy.
“Sometimes you give your best and your performance is better than another performance, but I think Harry Kane always gives his best.
“But during 10 months, it is difficult in every single game to perform to your best for different reasons.”
Kane has already had some ups and downs in 2018 after he picked up an illness right at the start of the year.
It led to a restricted role during a 2-0 win at Swansea City before he looked out of sorts in a 1-1 draw with West Ham United.
The former England under-21 international then scored in four consecutive games (against AFC Wimbledon, Everton, Southampton and Newport County).
Another strong display followed against Manchester United, where Spurs won 2-0, before his penalty drama at Anfield.
Kane missed a spot-kick at Liverpool with the score level at 1-1 and then had the chance to net again from 12-yards in stoppage time with Tottenham behind.
He duly delivered and in the process salvaged a 2-2 draw for the north Londoners and scored his 100th goal in the Premier League.
And on Saturday, despite missing some very good opportunities, his second-half header earned Pochettino’s team the points over Arsenal.
While it has been a productive few months for Kane, it has been a difficult time for defender Toby Alderweireld.
The ex-Ajax centre back suffered a serious hamstring injury during Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Real Madrid on November 1.
He only returned for the 2-0 success over Newport County last Wednesday in the FA Cup and revealed after the match his desire to face Arsenal.
Pochettino didn’t even include the Belgium international on the bench, though, and so it led to a series of questions after Saturday’s win.
When asked about the decision to pick Davinson Sanchez over Alderweireld, the Spurs boss replied: “Sorry? After the game I need to explain this? You think I need to explain why I picked one or another? Why? Sorry, I don’t understand your question.”
He continued: “I pick the players that I believe are the best to play in every game, but, if I explain why I don’t play Alderweireld, I need to explain why I don’t play Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama, Fernando Llorente, Michel Vorm and Harry Winks.”
Pochettino added: “The reason is that I believe the 11 players that played were the best to win. We won. If we lose maybe I accept the question, because I was wrong in my selection, but after three points?
“Toby played, like different players, against Newport, and the decision was be out of the squad. But that is, sorry, what the club and Daniel Levy pay for me to do – to make decisions, not to make people happy.”
It was a disappointing end to another fantastic day at Wembley for Pochettino and Tottenham.
What’s worth pointing out is there now appears a philosophy at Spurs when it comes to a player returning from a serious injury.
Danny Rose had to miss the previous north London derby in November, despite featuring in the game before, as he continued to build up his fitness.
It took Erik Lamela quite a while before he was eased into first-team matters after so long on the sidelines.
Alderweireld now appears set to follow a similar format and paper talk suggests he is not travelling to Juventus either.
But, this should not be a cause for concern just yet because Pochettino is almost certain to play the classy defender away to Rochdale in the FA Cup on Sunday. If he doesn’t, then understandably more questions will be asked.