Pochettino: No Kane, no problem

LONDON • Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insisted his side do not need to prove they can win without Harry Kane as they head to Manchester United without the injured forward.

Kane has 13 goals for Spurs this season but was forced off late on in last weekend's 4-1 win over Liverpool with a hamstring issue.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola recently labelled Tottenham as "the Harry Kane team" but Pochettino pointed to last term, when Spurs coped without the striker as he nursed an ankle injury, as proof they can be successful without their talisman.

"We don't need to prove ourselves, that we're Tottenham," said the Argentine yesterday.

"Maybe people expect that but for us, no. I think last season, in the period he was injured, you can see the stats and the games we played - win and lose with Harry, win and lose without Harry.

"I'm disappointed because he is our main striker and I think he is one of the best strikers in Europe, in the world, and you are always going to miss your best striker."

In Kane's absence last season, Spurs were unbeaten in seven league games, winning five matches.

Pochettino said Kane's injury was only a "small issue" but he did not want to exacerbate the problem by playing him against United, who are ahead of Spurs (20 points) in the table only on goal difference.

United manager Jose Mourinho refused to talk about injured players in his press conference yesterday but said of Spurs: "They are a young and fit side, especially physically, and I think they will be a very strong team."

The Portuguese was criticised earlier this month for taking just five points from his last 10 away games (with Chelsea and United) against the Premier League's top six - all goal-less draws - following United's 0-0 draw at Anfield.

But United have won all four of their home league games this term, scoring 14 without conceding.

Mourinho expects another good show even though he admits that Old Trafford has lost its fear factor.

"I don't think anyone is afraid to come and play us at Old Trafford," he said. "I just think normally we have performances at home... Normally at home, we are a strong, confident team so we try to do the same tomorrow."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2017, with the headline 'Pochettino: No Kane, no problem'. Print Edition | Subscribe