ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
West Brom 0
LONDON • Two games missed, two Premier League defeats.
Harry Kane's importance to this Tottenham side cannot be overstated, as he returned to help the hosts carve out a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion yesterday, ending their three-match losing run in the top flight.
The England captain was injured during their 3-1 loss to Liverpool last month and since then, Spurs have had nearly four fewer shots per game, while averaging just 13.5 touches in the opposition box.
Under Jose Mourinho, they have won just 30 per cent of their league games without Kane as shown by their two past defeats by Brighton and Chelsea.
So there were plenty of relieved faces in the Spurs dugout as the 27-year-old made an earlier-than-expected recovery to take his place in the starting line-up.
The relegation-threatened Baggies spent most of the time defending solidly. But they could have gone ahead on the stroke of half-time when Mbaye Diagne's header was kept out by Hugo Lloris, while the Senegal striker also had two goals rightly ruled out for offside.
After missing a few chances in the first half, Kane struck in the 54th minute to move joint-second on Spurs' all-time scoring list alongside Bobby Smith with 208 goals, 58 behind record-holder Jimmy Greaves.
Four minutes later, Son Heung-min drove in their second after a strong run by the recalled Lucas Moura, ending his drought of six games without a goal.
With only their third league victory in 11 games, Spurs are still floundering in their bid to make the top four but after seeing them provisionally go up to seventh place on 36 points, manager Jose Mourinho hopes his side, spearheaded by Kane, can end the season with a flourish.
"At the end of the season, you have the truth, we will be where we belong, where we deserve to be," he said.
"Harry Kane is a special player in the history of the club. He will beat every possible record. We had very good individual performances today.
"I loved the compromise of the players, the effort, the determination, the clear wish to show everyone how together they are and how much they were suffering with the bad results and how much they wanted the victory. That was the fundamental thing."
Son, who is one goal shy of equalling his career-best tally of 14 strikes in a league season, was just as delighted to see his strike partner back.
The pair have notched 26 of Spurs' 36 goals in the league this season, underlining the strength of their partnership.
"Harry Kane is so, so important for us. He is one of the best strikers in the world," the South Korean said. "It was only a couple of games but we missed him a lot. Him coming back and scoring straight away, it's what we needed. I missed him.
"The lads wanted to win this game. We had a couple of bad results in a row so it was very important to bounce back and get back to winning ways.
"The team put a lot of effort in for me and for other players. It's very important that we believe that we can do better things than even today. Obviously, we got the result today but we can do better."