Football

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho defends Harry Kane’s form under him

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho launched an impassioned defence of Harry Kane's form under his playing style, after television pundit Paul Merson suggested the England striker would struggle in the Portuguese manager's system.

Merson, a pundit with Sky Sports, said Kane, 26, would consider switching clubs if Mourinho continued adopting a conservative style in the English Premier League, like they did in last week's 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR WEST HAM UNITED

Kane has scored seven goals in 10 games under Mourinho, but struggled to make an impact against United - his first match since returning from a hamstring surgery in January - and Mourinho said Merson was wrong to judge him based on one game.

"The record of goals that Harry has with me (in charge) is easy for you to see... I can say I had a few strikers who played for me and they are not bad," Mourinho told reporters in a virtual news conference yesterday.

In a five-minute-long response, Mourinho then went on to mention the likes of Didier Drogba, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Diego Milito and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, reeling off their scoring stats under his tenures at various clubs.

"So dear Paul, I have lots of respect for you. Kane has no problems at all to score goals in my teams, especially when he's fit, when he's fresh and he has routines of playing," he added.

There was good news for Mourinho, who confirmed forward Lucas Moura was available after recovering from an injury while Dele Alli is also in contention after serving his one-match suspension.

"For the first time since I arrived, all six attacking players are available for the game," said Mourinho, who joined Spurs last November.

"I've had matches with only one and now finally I have six, so I can have people playing and on the bench to rotate players. Our attacking options for the West Ham match are really good."

CONTRACT EXTENSIONS

At the back, there was good news also as defender Jan Vertonghen has agreed to extend his contract until the end of the season. The Belgium international was due to leave Spurs on June 30.

Goalkeeper Michel Vorm has also signed an extension to his deal. A number of players out on loan, including Danny Rose, will also stay at their respective clubs.

Mourinho's side, who are eighth in the EPL, will be trying to reduce the nine-point gap on fourth-placed Chelsea. - REUTERS, AFP

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