Harry Kane stresses importance of good start as Spurs look to mount title challenge

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Harry Kane knows how important it is for Tottenham to keep the early pace with Manchester City and Liverpool if they are to be Premier League title contenders.

Both City and the Reds posted statement victories in their opening games of the season as the champions hammered West Ham 5-0 and Liverpool romped past Norwich 4-1.

Spurs needed a late Kane brace to ensure they got off to a winning start, beating Aston Villa 3-1 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the England captain says the two title favourites cannot be allowed to pull away.

There is an early chance for Mauricio Pochettino’s side to climb above City next week when the two meet in an early-season blockbuster.

“We kept up with them for a while last year but they blew ahead after January,” Kane said. “We have to make sure we get off to a good start.

“Liverpool set the standard on Friday night and City before us, so it’s important that we stay in touch as long as we can.

“We have full belief that we can go all the way but there’s a long road ahead and we’ve got to be fully focused.”

If Tottenham are going to challenge for the Premier League title then Kane’s goals are going to be very important.

The 26-year-old was delighted to break his duck at Spurs’ new stadium, netting for the first time at four attempts back in N17.

Kane admits he enjoyed a summer of bliss, where he got married and was in the Bahamas for a month, thinking about scoring there, so was a relief to do it so soon this season.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while,” he said. “I missed a few games towards the back end of last year and had the summer to think about what that would be like, so it was nice to do it and help the team to get a victory.

“I had four weeks off, the most I’ve had off in a few years now. I’ve had a good pre-season, been here from the start, worked with the team and everyone’s feeling good.

“We’ve still got work to do, I’ve still got work to do in terms of fitness and things like that, but playing games will only help.

“I feel in a good place and hopefully I can continue doing what we’ve done.”

It was the introduction off the bench of Christian Eriksen that changed the game against Villa, who led through John McGinn’s goal before Tanguy Ndombele equalised for Spurs.

The Dane’s future is up in the air as he will not sign a new contract and could leave the club before the end of the European transfer window on September 2.

But Kane hopes he sticks around as long as possible.

“Obviously I’ve been playing with Chris now for five or six years and we all know the qualities he has: the assists, the passes, the goals,” he said.

“Whether he starts or is on the bench, the most important thing from all of our points of view is that he gives everything for the team.

“Obviously there’s been speculation about his future but as long as he’s training hard and playing as hard as he can when he’s here, that’s all we can ask for. What will be will be but we’re happy to have him.

“That’s out of my hands. From our point of view as players, we do it on the pitch. We commit to the club and do as much as we can and whatever happens outside of our control, happens.” 

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Paul Pogba still unsure of Man United future after win over Chelsea

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Paul Pogba has admitted he is still unsure about his future after appearing in Manchester United‘s crushing opening-day win against Chelsea.

The France midfielder was expected to leave Old Trafford for Real Madrid this summer, but the Spanish club do not appear to be prepared to accept United’s asking price, reported to be £180million.

Pogba, who set up Marcus Rashford for his second goal against Chelsea with a brilliant long-range pass, told French radio station RMC Sport afterwards that there were still doubts over whether he will stay at United.

“I always feel good when I play football. I do the things I like, plus it’s my job. I give my all every time I go out on the pitch,” he said.

“I’m aware that things have been said. Only time will tell. There’s always that question mark.

“I’m at Manchester. I have fun with my team-mates, I always want to win matches and I always give my best when I’m on the pitch.”

The Spanish transfer window does not shut until September 2, but Real look set to sign Ajax midfielder Donny Van de Beek, who has reportedly claimed the two clubs are in talks over a transfer.

United made a winning start to the new Premier League season, beating Chelsea 4-0 thanks to two goals from Rashford – his first from the penalty spot – Anthony Martial and debutant Daniel James.

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard reacts after 'harsh' Premier League debut at Man United

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Frank Lampard admitted his Chelsea side were confronted with the “harsh reality” of the Premier League after the Blues succumbed to a heavy 4-0 defeat at Manchester United.

Chelsea’s new head coach handed starts to Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount in a youthful line-up at Old Trafford and the homegrown pair started brightly, the former rattling a post when the score was still goalless.

The visitors arguably shaded the first half but trailed to a Marcus Rashford penalty before United ran riot after Anthony Martial had doubled their advantage shortly after the hour mark.

Rashford scored once more before debutant Daniel James netted to give the hosts victory by a margin that flattered them in both sides’ curtain-raiser, something Lampard was keen to highlight.

Lampard said: “We were clearly the better team for 45 to maybe 60 minutes. What was evident was that we made individual errors which led to four goals out of their five shots (on target), there’s the harsh reality for us.

“If we go in at half-time 2-1 or 3-1 up, as we probably should have done, if we were more clinical and had maybe a stroke of luck here and there, the game would be completely different.

“football is won and lost in the boxes, they won in our box by being clinical.

“We had so many more shots than them and attacking entries and getting high up the pitch. That was where we let ourselves down in not putting the chances away.

“It’s quite hard to talk about it after 4-0, you can sound stupid but anyone who watched the game would have seen that. We gave them clear opportunities to score and they took them.”

Lampard was unable to start a number of regulars because of injury while the former midfielder has been hindered in recent months by Chelsea’s transfer ban.

He added: “I can’t drag people out of the medical room to play.

“Let’s be clear with the injuries we have at the minute, with the fact we couldn’t bring in players, this is going to be a work in progress to a degree. We will have to learn harsh lessons and correct them pretty quickly.

“There were lots and lots of elements to the game that I liked, there were four or five elements that I didn’t like and they were fatal for us.

“We can’t run away from the fact that we know where we’re at, we couldn’t bring in players, most managers at a club like Chelsea can bring in players to change the way they want to play, to bring in quality, etc.

“But we can’t, I’m not going to complain too much about that, I want to work.”

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his side had their moments of fortune but was immensely satisfied by their fantastic start to the season.

He said: “You take a win because it’s about points first. The second-half performance was very pleasing, that was the big plus coming into half-time because we were a bit lucky.

“They pinned us back created chances but we settled a few nerves.

“We’re still a work in progress, we still know we’re not anywhere near the finished article and we have got loads of improvement to be made.

“But we have found a way we want to play. We took risks but that’s the way here, you’ve gotta go for it, risk and reward.”

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