LONDON • Harry Kane's hat-trick in Tottenham's 3-0 win over Fulham in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday took his tally of trebles for his team to five - one more than club legend Gary Lineker.
Lineker, now a well-known television presenter, had been quick to post praise of Kane's performance on Twitter, but on realising he had been eclipsed in the list of hat-trick scorers in the Tottenham record books, he tweeted jokingly: "B*****d!"
Kane, who had been a doubt to start because of a knee problem, had feared that he would be substituted before getting the chance to score his third goal, after missing a chance in the 70th minute and seeing manager Mauricio Pochettino preparing to make a change.
"I thought he was going to take me off soon," the forward said.
"When I put it over the bar I thought that was going to be the last chance I was going to have, but luckily I managed to sneak it (the hat-trick) in before I was taken off."
It was also Kane's second hat-trick in his last seven games and he has now bagged 20 goals in his last 22 London derbies.
Lineker followed up with another tweet after the game that said: "Some strikers you know will score when they're one-on-one with the keeper. Others you know will miss. @HKane is most certainly the former."
Pochettino was taking no chances with squad rotation on Sunday, having scraped past fourth-tier Wycombe in the previous round.
The Spurs manager was keen to play his strongest hand and remind everyone that his team's season is far from over following defeats by Liverpool and Ghent in their previous two games.
"It was a great opportunity today to show that we are alive," the Argentinian said.
"And end that bad feeling after two defeats. To change and prepare for the Europa League. We have another 'final' at Wembley on Thursday and we'll need to feel fresh, and to bring some confidence back."
The message could not be clearer. Having lost 0-1 away at Ghent in the Europa League, Pochettino wants to show the Belgian side that Spurs are firing again and can, at Wembley, which is Spurs' home ground in European competition, be capable of wresting back control of the round-of-32 tie.
Tottenham will also seek to win their ninth FA Cup title starting with their quarter-final clash on March 11 against third-tier Millwall, who beat Leicester 1-0 on Saturday.
THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS