Jose Mourinho has defended Harry Kane’s performance against Manchester United, amidst criticism of the striker’s lethargic display in the 1-1 draw.
Kane was largely anonymous in the match and did not pose the United defenders much of a threat through the ninety minutes.
Despite not really being very effective in the final third, the 26-year-old worked his socks off and was pivotal in helping the Spurs side defend from the front, as demonstrated by his individual stats from the match (The Athletic).
Mourinho felt that it was unfair to single Kane out for criticism given that no forward in the Premier League was at their best in their first game back after the restart.
Speaking to Football.London, the Spurs boss said: “Tell me from these about 10 matches in the Premier League, which striker independent of having a huge surgery like he had, being six months away, tell me which striker did you feel was phenomenal, or was the normal level of his potential.
“Which one? I don’t remember, honestly I don’t remember. Firminho, Mane, Salah was maybe injured or on the bench, Martial, Ighalo, Vardy, go from club to club and tell me which one arrived and exploded with the game.
“I don’t remember one. Jimenez yesterday scored a good goal, but I think Nuno will not be upset, I think Jimenez is better than that. It’s not easy for any player, especially for some positions, the positions that demand more sharpness, that demand more accuracy in this special technique.
“I also think, not just in our league, in many other leagues, how many goalkeepers made mistakes. Lots, lots because it’s another position where you cannot hide, it’s another position where the specificity of your technique – there are other positions, midfield players, full-backs, there are positions where you can hide a little bit better.
“It’s not easy for a striker to come now, to get the ball in midfield, dribble, it’s not easy now for a striker to be completely sharp and Harry Kane played one game after six months. I know that if tomorrow he scores two goals, the talk stops.”
The 57-year-old also insisted that he would be more than happy if Kane put in a similar performance against West Ham to the one on Friday and labelled his striker a ‘hero’ for the hard work he put in to be out on the field.
Mourinho added: “Let’s suppose he doesn’t score a goal (against West Ham), I think it’s just the normal process. How long will it take? I don’t know, I don’t know.
“The only thing that I know is that Harry Kane had an incredible effort, he played 90 minutes, 94 or 95, he was training again today and yesterday, he’s ready to play tomorrow, he’s an amazing professional, he’s super committed with the team.”
“So I don’t see any problems. If I have to wait patiently to score two goals or three goals in one game and then everybody starts saying that Harry Kane is back, I wait.
“But for me it’s not Harry Kane, it’s Hero Kane because a guy that had a big surgery, has a lockdown that stopped the perfect rehabilitation, because it did, so with all the difficulties, then come to normal training only for a couple of weeks and for me Hero Kane.
“If tomorrow he gives me the same he gave me against United, I will be more than happy, more than happy.”
Spurs Web Opinion
There is no question that some have gone overboard with their criticism of Harry Kane’s performance against Manchester United. We know that Kane has always been a slow starter and needs a run of games to get into his grove.
Having not played a competitive match for six months, it is only natural that he would still be a little rusty. I have no doubts that he will find his scoring boots within the next two to three matches.
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