Mauricio Pochettino is confident Harry Kane will hit the goals trail once again despite drawing a blank in Tottenham’s 2-1 Premier League victory at Newcastle.
Remarkably, the prolific England captain has never found the back of the net in the top flight in August, a run which now stretches to 14 games, although his club boss is certain it will only be a matter of time before Kane shakes off his World Cup fatigue to set his tally ticking over once again.
Asked if the striker was still to return to his best form, Pochettino said: “For me, he is in his best form whether he scores or doesn’t score. I don’t have any doubt that he’s in his best form. He worked a lot for the team and I’m sure that he’s going to score.
“But he can’t score three goals in every game.”
Kane, who became a father for the second time on Wednesday, Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli all started at St James’ Park despite only returning to training on Monday following their endeavours in Russia.
Vertonghen and Alli both scored either side of Joselu’s equaliser – the Goal Decision System showed the defender’s header was nine millimetres over the line – with all the goals coming inside the opening 18 minutes.
Pochettino has warned his international stars they are not guaranteed a place in his team.
He said: “It’s not because they were at the World Cup, they are sure to play in the team. That is the most important thing: if we want to win something, if we want to challenge for big things, we all need to put our minds and energy into the collective and understand that the collective is the most important thing.
“If individual goals and targets are the priority for them, it’s sure that they are not going to help the team and that is why they are going to be out of the squad.”
Watch Guardiola speak in the video below:
Jan Vertonghen opened the scoring in the eighth minute from a corner kick before Joselu equalised moments later.
Alli then headed in from a delicious Serge Aurier cross in the 18th minute to make it 2-1.
The visitors held on for all three points and here we rate the performances of their players.
Hugo Lloris – His defenders let him down at times but the woodwork offered him a bit of help. Made a smart save low to his right in the second half. 6
Serge Aurier – Great delivery for Alli’s goal but always looked suspect at the back, leaving his side unmanned time and again. 5
Davinson Sanchez – Superb in the opposition’s box – getting the assist for the opener – but poor in his own. Left Joselu completely unmarked for the equaliser. 6
Jan Vertonghen – Stabbed his effort over the line – just – for the opener and was Spurs’ best defender. 8
Ben Davies – A threat going forward, set up Moussa Sissoko well on one occasion with a drilled cross. 6
Moussa Sissoko – Produced a good save from Martin Dubravka in the second half. Got forward well from midfield at times. 6
Eric Dier – A rather quiet display as he did little more than recycle possession. 5
Lucas Moura – Showed glimpses of his quick feet but vulnerable when closed down quickly and lost possession often. 5
Christian Eriksen – Was predictably among Spurs’ sharpest on the pitch. Good delivery from the corner for the opener and made five key passes. 7
Dele Alli – Not an outstanding display soon after a draining World Cup but took his chance well. Wasn’t quite as sharp to put away the second opportunity that came his way though. 7
Harry Kane – Looked well off the pace, lacking match sharpness. His touch let him down at crucial moments. The August drought continues. 4
Mousa Dembele – Replaced Moura in the 68th minute and helped Spurs get a better grip in midfield. 6
Son Heung-Min – Added more pace in the final third in the closing stages. N/A
Luke Amos – Didn’t have much time to make an impact. N/A