Football: Spurs striker Harry Kane keen to put Chelsea under extra pressure

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane is keen to narrow Chelsea's lead to just one point with a win against West Ham, whose manager Slaven Bilic concedes that Spurs would have been leading the EPL table had it not been for injuries to Kane earlier in the se
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane is keen to narrow Chelsea's lead to just one point with a win against West Ham, whose manager Slaven Bilic concedes that Spurs would have been leading the EPL table had it not been for injuries to Kane earlier in the season.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Harry Kane says Tottenham Hotspur plan on making Chelsea squirm this weekend as his title chasers look to pile pressure on the Premier League leaders with a win against West Ham today.

With Chelsea not in action until Monday's clash with Middlesbrough, Mauricio Pochettino's second-placed side can temporarily move within one point of the top spot if they beat the Hammers at the London Stadium.

Chelsea are on 81 points, with four games remaining, while Tottenham are on 77.

Tottenham know the effect the schedule can have after they regularly followed Leicester City during last year's run-in and finally crumbled to hand the Foxes the title.

So far, they have coped admirably with the anxiety of having to play their fixtures after Chelsea, responding to victories by the leaders by beating Crystal Palace and Arsenal in their last two games.

This weekend, Kane and company, winners of their last nine league games, go first and the Tottenham striker is determined to seize the chance to turn up the heat on the Blues.

"We just have to try to finish strong. We've got another game on Friday night and it's good to play first," Kane said. "Hopefully we can drop the gap to one point and then see what happens.

"We know what it's like from when Leicester were playing last year before us, and even today, that it's good to play first and put the pressure on.

"It'll be a tough game away from home but hopefully we can get that win, put the pressure on and just wait and see."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino yesterday maintained that Kyle Walker is still focused on the club despite speculation that the defender, who has been linked with Manchester City, is unhappy at White Hart Lane.

"All 21 players (Walker is in the squad to face West Ham) are focused to help achieve the things we want to achieve," Pochettino said. "I am so calm. The players are calm. They know what happens inside.

"It's important that the fans know that the players are calm and we will see at the end of the season whether the rumours are true or not."

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic brushed aside speculation about his future yesterday, insisting he is focused only on the match with Tottenham.

British media reports this week suggested that his fate could hinge on the results of West Ham's next two home games, with third-placed Liverpool set to visit the London Stadium next week.

West Ham are not yet mathematically safe from relegation - they are 15th in the table on 39 points with three games left and only seven points above the drop zone.

"It's not the time to talk about my situation," Bilic said. "It's the time to talk about the club. I'm very calm and focused on the game."

In a rare departure for a West Ham manager, Bilic conceded that Tottenham are the most in-form team in the league and would have been top of the table but for the injuries to striker Kane.

"I have nothing but praise for (Tottenham)," he said. "I'm watching them the whole season and I think how did Chelsea make that gap? Then I remember that one period they were a couple of times without Harry Kane.

"That first one they lost or drew a few games that if you are challenging for the title you cannot afford."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2017, with the headline 'Kane keen to put Blues under extra pressure'. Print Edition | Subscribe