Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes the Premier League single-season scoring record of 34 goals is under threat from Harry Kane after the striker grabbed two more in a 4-0 victory over Everton at Wembley.
Kane made it 10 goals in his last six games in all competitions to become Tottenham’s record scorer in the Premier League and, after Saturday’s match, the England forward’s top-flight tally for the season stands at 20 with 15 league games still to play.
“Harry is fantastic and I congratulate him one more time,” said Pochettino after Kane equalled and then surpassed Teddy Sheringham’s previous record of 97 Premier League goals for the north London club.
“He can do anything because of his mentality and how professional he is.
“He can achieve all that he wants because of his willingness to work. He’s always thinking and trying to improve, improve, improve and score goals.”
Pochettino added: “What is really important to explain to everyone is that although he scores lots of goals, his mentality is always to work for the team and that is what makes him such a special player. In his mind, he always tries to help and play for the team.”
Victory left Spurs level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool, who face runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday, in a competitive race for a place in next season’s Champions League.
“That is our challenge and our target, to reach the Champions League, but we know that it is difficult to play at this type of level for a long period,” Pochettino added.
The manager was also full of praise for Son Heung-Min, who scored Tottenham’s opening goal, hit the post and helped to set up one of Kane’s goals as well as that of Christian Eriksen.
The South Korea star was just happy to have a full-time role this season, saying: “I love playing now. I want to keep going scoring but we all played well today, not just me.
“It’s impossible to beat Harry. He’s one of the best strikers and one of the best players. He works so hard for the team. He’s younger than me but I’m learning from him.”
While Spurs maintained their recent surge in form, Everton slumped to their heaviest defeat under new manager Sam Allardyce.
“We’ve seen the inconsistent Everton today,” said Allardyce. “Last week we were very unlucky to get beaten at Liverpool in the last five minutes and this week we got thrashed in the second half.
“Obviously it’s something I have to address now. I didn’t expect to see it. I’ve seen it and now I have to address it as quickly as possible.
“It was a shocking second-half performance. I saw some of the good sides of the players last week and I saw some of their worst sides in the second half today, which is massively worrying in terms.
“I can’t excuse our capitulation after we went 2-0 down… West Brom becomes a massive game next week so that we don’t get dragged back into that relegation zone.
“After having a wonderful start, we are back on dangerous ground with our results and it’s our responsibility to get results, not wait to see if other teams have lost.”
Allardyce added: “It was a very difficult day for (new signing) Cenk Tosun on his debut today, a very difficult day for us all in the end.
“But if we can get him a better service that he likes and get him holding the ball up, hopefully he’ll do for us what he’s done for Besiktas in their league and in the Champions League.”
😡 | “It can’t happen again,” – It’s a frank assessment from the manager… pic.twitter.com/Hz1Z37sSAW
— Everton (@Everton) January 13, 2018
Provided by AFP Sport
Guardiola is pleased to see the high-possession, high-pressing and high-intensity approach he espouses has found popularity elsewhere in the Premier League, complimenting both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on the way they play.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss saw his style questioned as he struggled to make an early impact at the Etihad Stadium, suffering the first trophyless season of his coaching career last term as City finished third in the table.
The transformation this season has been remarkable, with City having dropped just four points in 22 league matches as they remain in contention for an unprecedented trophy quadruple.
Having faced suggestions his style could not work in England, Guardiola is delighted to have proved his critics wrong, adding he loves to see other teams playing his way.
“I like that, because more than a manager, I’m a fan. When I have to choose, those are the type of teams I like to watch,” he said.
“Barcelona, I love to watch, first because I am a fan of the club, I grew up there, and especially because we are in a unmissable period in terms of seeing their great players, especially one (Lionel Messi).
“I am happy that in Italy, Napoli are playing in a quite similar way. I identify quite well with how they play and how they want to do things.
“It’s the same with Tottenham. Tottenham can drop points, but always I see the games and think: ‘They played well’. You always see they have 20, 25, 27 shots on target. And you see that and say: Wow.”
Guardiola includes Liverpool, City’s opponents on Sunday, in the list of high-quality attacking teams in the Premier League.
“I think Liverpool are playing like Liverpool were in the past, with all their history,” Guardiola said.
“The fans are demanding attacking football. Liverpool have to defend their whole history.
“In the 1980s, they dominated the world and European football. I think they are trying to respect that.
“Some teams try to sit back against us. Liverpool played well against us. They tried. We want to do something quite similar. We want to try to be the best.”
Few would expect City to stumble in this season’s contest for the Premier League title, given they are currently 15 points clear at the top, yet Guardiola has warned it is still possible.
Jurgen Klopp has mastered the counter-attack, says the boss ahead of #lfcvcity.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 13, 2018
“In football and in sport, anything can happen. Of course, we can lose the title, because you never know what is going to happen in the next 13 or 14 games.
“If we maintain our level, the consistency and the way we play, then OK, we have a chance. But you never know.”
The Spaniard added: “If we start to go down, and lose confidence, and don’t play well regularly, then we will see.
“Maybe that is going to happen, and I am going to shake the hand of my opponents and congratulate them for being champions.
“You will always be judged on the result. I always try to say to the players: ‘Don’t read too much about what is done’.
“It is simple: Just focus on the next game. That is the best advice I can give to my players. That’s the reason why I’m here – to talk to them.”
Provided by AFP Sport
The Premier League champions were unable to break the deadlock and were fortunate not to conceded themselves.
Here’s what we learned from the encounter.
MORATA WOES PERSIST
The good news for Alvaro Morata is that he didn’t add to his six one-on-one misses over the previous two games. The bad news is that he didn’t even do enough to get into a decent goal-scoring position.
The Spaniard struggled to get involved in the game. His best moment came when he ran down the left flank, got to the byline and forced a corner.
He failed to register a single shot on goal despite playing the full 90 minutes and his touch let him down on a few occasions as well. He’s now gone five games without scoring, compounding Chelsea’s goal-scoring woes.
CONTE NO LONGER SITTING PRETTY
Antonio Conte is starting to come under pressure at Stamford Bridge after a second listless 0-0 draw within days. The Italian was criticised for his lack of attacking play against a depleted Arsenal side in their midweek League Cup semi-final clash at home.
The Blues were equally underwhelming in the final third against Leicester and in fact were lucky not to concede with the home support growing frustrated with their side.
There were several moans and groans around the Bridge over the course of the game as the home team failed to create anything of note.
Conte’s bold decision to sub off both Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard before the hour-mark was also met with discontent and was a move that ultimately didn’t pay off.
MAHREZ THE SPARK CHELSEA NEED
Riyadh Mahrez has been in phenomenal form and delivered another masterclass against Chelsea.
He may not have helped Leicester break the deadlock but he was the one who looked most likely to. The Algerian was different class, weaving his way past blue shirts and creating chance after chance.
His acceleration, touch and vision had the Chelsea defence scrambling. With Hazard often being crowded out, Chelsea could do with another creative force cut from the same cloth and Mahrez certainly fits that billing.
It’s a known fact that he’s been angling for a move away from Leicester since the end of their title-winning campaign and while he’s been consistently linked with a move to Arsenal, perhaps Chelsea should’ve lodged an interest.
Will they end up regretting opting for Ross Barkley instead?