Kane embraces Europa challenge


Harry Kane insists Tottenham should not turn their noses up at the prospect of playing another season in the Europa League.

Spurs’ faint hopes of Champions League qualification were extinguished on Saturday in embarrassing fashion as they flopped to a 3-0 defeat at Stoke.

If they manage to stay above Southampton – who sit one point below them – Tottenham will qualify for the Europa League.

Even if they slip below Saints, a seventh-placed finish would be enough to qualify, provided Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup final.

The prospect of flying to the far reaches of the continent on Thursday nights for a fifth successive season does not appeal to some Spurs fans, who would rather see their team focus solely on domestic matters, but that is not the case for Kane.

“We want to win more trophies and the Europa League is a chance to do that,” the Tottenham striker said.

“We’re going to try to win the last two games to qualify for the Europa League, and we’ll be taking that competition very seriously.”

Tottenham managers have had mixed views on the Europa League since they slipped back into the competition following a single year in the Champions League.

Andre Villas-Boas embraced the Europa League, but his predecessor Harry Redknapp branded the competition a “nuisance” that hampers league form.

That notion has rung true for Spurs this year. They have taken 16 points from a possible 30 in the matches that have followed their European exploits.

But the Europa League gave Kane an avenue to break into the Spurs first team earlier this season and the striker believes playing in the competitions has its merits.

“It’s more games so it gives us more opportunities to play together,” said the England forward, who scored seven of his 30 goals this season in the Europa League.

“Champions League teams have to do the same. If they win the Champions League they have to play that many games, so the Europa League’s no different.

“If anything it gives us a bit more experience in Europe, hopefully to try to push on to the Champions League. Everyone in and around the team wants to be involved.”

Judging by Saturday’s performance at the Britannia Stadium, Tottenham are nowhere near good enough to qualify for the Champions League.

Jan Vertonghen handed Stoke the lead when he flicked Mame Diouf’s cross straight into the path of Charlie Adam, who nodded in from close range.

A mix-up between Eric Dier and Hugo Lloris allowed Steven Nzonzi to add a second before Vertonghen allowed Diouf to tap in Mark Arnautovic’s cross and complete Stoke’s biggest win over Spurs for 80 years.

Tottenham have the fifth-worst defensive record in the Barclays Premier League this year – and Kane knows that must improve.

“We gave away two sloppy goals,” he said.

“That’s something we’ve been doing all season to be honest – and it’s something we’ve got to get better at.”

As well as concentrating on winning his final two matches against Hull and Everton, Mauricio Pochettino is also considering his movements in the transfer market.

“It is important to identify and take a decision for the season and try to improve our squad. This is the challenge now,” the Spurs boss said.

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