LONDON • Harry Kane has said that he would have gladly forfeited winning the Premier League's Golden Boot if it had meant that Tottenham Hotspur finished second in the table and ended a season perched above Arsenal for the first time in 21 years.
The Spurs and England striker beat Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Leicester City's Jamie Vardy to the award after scoring 25 goals in 28 appearances for Mauricio Pochettino's side.
Even so, it provided little consolation in the wake of his team's end-of-season collapse, emphasised by Tottenham's 5-1 capitulation at already relegated Newcastle United on Sunday.
Despite being badly out of sorts ever since missing out on the title to Leicester, Spurs required only a point at St James' Park to secure second position ahead of their North London rivals.
"I think that's probably the worst performance I've ever been involved with," said Kane.
FALLING SHORT ONCE MORE
When people think Arsenal had a bad season and we've had a good one, yet they still finish above us, it hurts.
HARRY KANE, Tottenham striker, on their north London arch-rivals finishing above them in the Premier League yet again.
"We still had a lot to play for, so it's hard to put a finger on what went wrong. We just haven't been good enough in the last few games.
"It would have been nicer to have won the award (Golden Boot) on a better day.
"Look, it's a personal achievement, and it's something I'm proud of, but if I had the choice between winning or having the Golden Boot, I'd rather have won.
"For me, it's a little bit of a good feeling, but overall I'm gutted that we haven't finished the season off strong."
Or bettered Arsenal for the first time since 1995.
"That definitely makes it harder because we know how much it means to the fans and how much it means to the club," said Kane. "When people think Arsenal had a bad season and we've had a good one, yet they still finish above us, it hurts."
Earlier, Pochettino admitted that Tottenham's defeat by 10-man Newcastle was his "worst day" in management and said he was "ashamed" by the team's performance.
"First of all I would like to apologise to our fans," said the Argentinian, whose side have fallen apart since losing out on the title to Leicester. "Our team was terrible for them; to our families, too. I feel ashamed. This wasn't the team that played all season. It's my worst day in management, not just in England but Spain, too.
"It wasn't a tactical problem, it wasn't about physical conditioning - we need to improve our mentality. Today we could see from the beginning that we weren't ready to compete and we don't have enough quality to only play with the ball. We need to run, we need to give 100 per cent and be aggressive."
For Kane, Champions League football and the prospect of potential trips to Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid et al next season certainly helps anaesthetise the pain of Tottenham's surrender.
"What's just happened hurts, and it'll leave a bad taste in the mouth over the summer," he said.
"But in hindsight, you've got to try to look at the bigger picture. If someone had offered us automatic Champions League at the start of the season, we would definitely have taken it. It's just a shame the way it ended."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN