August 1, 2021

‘Mourinho has never told us to sit back’ – Kane defends Tottenham manager’s tactics after Sheffield United win

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The Spurs striker has admitted that he and his team-mates have been guilty of resting on their laurels in matches in the first half of the season

Harry Kane defended Jose Mourinho’s tactics after Tottenham‘s win at Sheffield United, insisting the Portuguese manager has never advised his players to sit back when in front.

Tottenham have developed an unwanted reputation for squandering leads during the first half of the 2020-21 campaign.

Mourinho has seen his side drop points from winning positions against Newcastle, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Wolves and Fulham – with draws in those five matches ultimately preventing them from setting the pace at the top of the Premier League standings.

However, Spurs were able to move back into the top four with a 3-1 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday, thanks to goals from Serge Aurier, Kane and Tanguy Ndombele.

It has been suggested that Mourinho’s pragmatic approach does not suit a Tottenham side bursting with top-quality attacking talent, but Kane insists that it is the players who should be taking full responsibility for their inconsistent form.

“Fantastic performance from everyone today – started really well, aggressive with our press and were clinical to go 2-0 up. Even in the second half, when they scored, we didn’t panic,” the England international told BBC Match of the Day.

“Tanguy [Ndombele} scored a fantastic goal and we saw the game out well, which we haven’t done in the past few weeks.

“It’s never been the manager saying that (we should sit back) it’s been us on the pitch having a mentality where we want to drop and hold on to to the win. The most important thing is us as players to go and take responsibility, and we did that today.

“Tanguy’s goal was incredible, the technique he had to flick that ball back over the keeper was truly special.

“There were a couple of chances I could have done better with, the most important thing is winning games. Anyone who can put a good spell together (is in the title race), that’s why it has been disappointing and frustrating for us dropping points from winning positions.”

Aurier echoed his team-mate’s sentiments, telling BBC Sport: “We started very well with the pressing and scored a good goal. Tonight we did what the gaffer said and wanted, when we play like that everything is OK. We have to stay with this mentality.

“We will see in the next battle, but today we are happy. Before the game the gaffer wanted me in the first post, and I go, I asked to go and today he gave me the opportunity and I scored. But it’s not about me, it’s about the team and I am happy.

“Sometimes we missed the second goal after we score, but tonight we are happy and we have to keep this mentality if we want to stay near the top of the league.”

Asked for his reaction to Ndombele’s stunning lobbed effort which rounded off the scoring against Sheffield United, Aurier responded: “This guy, he always touches the ball and something happens, I am happy for him, he played well and scored an amazing goal.”