London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino admits Harry Kane is feeling the strain of a testing summer but is convinced the striker will rediscover his scintillating form of last season.
The 23-year-old England international and his Tottenham Hotspur team-mates will attempt to bounce back from the disappointment of Wednesday’s defeat at Wembley to Monaco in the Champions League when struggling Sunderland visit White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Kane scored his first goal of the season in last weekend’s victory at Stoke, ending a nine-game drought for club and country that spanned the dismal Euro 2016 campaign.
Kane scored 32 goals last season but was again left frustrated against Monaco, appearing below his best. Pochettino however insists the player will turn things around.
“The circumstances for all was difficult from the summer with the Euros,” said Pochettino referring to Kane and his fellow Spurs and England team-mates Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, Eric Dier and Dele Alli.
“We are a team that sometimes needs more time to settle.
“Harry Kane will score goals and it’s more a collective issue than an individual one.”
Pochettino was angered by his side’s first half display against Monaco and has demanded they show a significant improvement against Sunderland.
“When we wait six years to play in the Champions League, you can’t go to the changing room after 45 minutes with the feeling we had at half-time,” said the 44-year-old Argentinian.
“We were better in the second-half and now we need to learn from that, be more aggressive, to play more in the way we usually play.
“If we are clever and intelligent people we need to know that we need to play football with passion and desire. That’s very important, and then we can speak about a tactical plan for the game.
“For me, football means passion and emotion. Without that it’s impossible to analyse the plans or the tactics or different things that happen on the pitch.”
David Moyes has challenged his Sunderland players to prove they’re not to blame for the club’s struggles.
The Scot is the latest in a line of managers charged with ridding the ‘Black Cats’ of their status as perennial Premier League basement-dwellers, one which sees them in danger of being sucked into a fifth consecutive battle for survival after a winless start to the campaign.
Moyes admits the size of the task facing him to turn things round has quickly been made clear after he became the sixth permanent Sunderland manager in three-and-a-half years when taking charge in the summer.
Second-bottom Sunderland have managed just a point from their opening four games ahead of Sunday’s match, and while he has so far refused to outwardly criticise his squad, he has warned them things need to improve if they aren’t to be seen as the root cause of the problems.
“The players need to lift their levels,” he said.
“For too long, it has been too close to the bottom level. They need to show they are not there, or it may come to the point people say it has nothing to do with the managers, it’s the players.”
Sunderland will hope Spurs are out of sorts and they can end a 23-game Premier League winless run in August and September, an unwanted record stretching back to 2012.
Moyes is set to hand a first Premier League start in midfield to £13.6 million (16 million euros, $17.8m) record signing Didier Ndong, and suggests the players can show they are the solution not the problem by putting up a good performance.
“We are up against it,” he said.
“There has to be a building job here, but we have a great chance to prove ourselves.”
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $35/mo. for Sling Blue
- Watch Premier League, World Cup & MLS
- Includes USA, NBC, FOX, FS1 + more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Plea penalty sends Gladbach top in Germany
- Tete double helps Lyon ease past Troyes
- Man Utd agree to sign Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro
- Chelsea boss Tuchel given one-game ban after Spurs red card
- Man Utd icon Ferguson lauds Giggs’ temperament’ at assault trial
- EPL commentators on NBC: Aug. 20 to 22
- CBS renews UEFA Champions League rights through 2029/30
- Ten Hag demands attitude change from Man Utd
- Dortmund chairman rules out move for Cristiano Ronaldo
- Injured Kante sidelined for several weeks: Tuchel