Harry Kane strengthened his chance of a first Premier League start of the campaign by scoring an eighth goal in as many games for Tottenham on Thursday night.
The boyhood Spurs fan has established himself as a favourite with supporters this term thanks to his selfless attitude and goalscoring ability.
It has led many to call for boss Mauricio Pochettino to hand Kane a starting role in the league, with Sunday’s match-winning display in the 2-1 victory at Aston Villa underlining his case.
The 21-year-old continued his impressive form in the Europa League yesterday, netting what proved to the decisive goal in an unconvincing 2-1 defeat of Asteras Tripolis.
The fact Emmanuel Adebayor was amongst those rested for the trip to Greece led to inevitable suggestions he would start against Stoke on Sunday, yet head coach Pochettino indicated Kane’s chances are improving.
“We will see,” he said. “We will see on Sunday. I am happy for him because he scored again.
“I am happy for us because it was an important goal to get the three points and I am happy for all of us.”
A starting role for Kane would be welcomed by many Spurs fans, so too would a vastly-improved defensive display.
An Andros Townsend penalty along with the England Under-21s international’s header gave the north Londoners a comfortable lead they looked set to throw away after half-time.
Asteras had 14 efforts of differing quality during a shocking, error-riddled second half in which Jeronimo Barrales netted late on, scoring from the spot after a foul which saw Federico Fazio sent off.
This was just the latest occasion in which Spurs have lack defensive resilience, yet former Argentina defender Pochettino was surprisingly chipper.
“Today Asteras didn’t score at the beginning of the second half – it is a different game,” he said, when put to him Tasos Tsokanis’ strike seconds into the second half, which thankfully for the visitors went wide, was similar to the recent game-changing strike by Sammy Ameobi for Newcastle.
“We need to improve, we need to work, we need to realise we need to improve in different aspects of the game.
“I think that we played very well but the second half was different and we need to review the game and improve.”
The second-half display would seem to give credence to England coach Gary Neville’s recent comments that Spurs are “weak” mentally – comments Pochettino still does not agree with.
“If you have a weak mentality, it would be there in 90 minutes, not only in some moments in the game,” he said.
“The only thing is you need to show you are ready for 95, 96, 97 minutes in the game – it’s true, it’s true.
“We need to improve, we need to work hard. I explained after the game with Newcastle that we need to work very hard with our mentality to be focused on the game for 95 minutes.
“It is one aspect that we need to improve, but it is hard to work because it is a difficult aspect to improve in football.”
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