London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino admitted Tottenham may already be feeling the pace after being left to sweat on an injury to England striker Harry Kane who was carried off after scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory at home to Sunderland.
Kane scored his second goal in as many league games but he was taken off on a stretcher late on after a tackle by Papy Djilobodji, with an initial diagnosis of a twisted ankle.
Victory lifted Tottenham into third place in the Premier League, their final position last term, to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
Pochettino was unable to be drawn on the extent of the injury of the striker, but felt he would not be left short of options following the pre-season signing of Vincent Janssen.
“We will find out tomorrow (Monday), Harry twisted his ankle and he felt pain in it. It could be a problem with his ligament but today is difficult to assess and give an opinion,” said the Spurs boss.
“It is difficult without him, but we signed Janssen, he’s working very well and he is a striker that can give us a lot of things.”
The Tottenham manager also believed the rigours of Champions League football and international tournaments are already starting to take their toll, with Mousa Dembele also leaving the field due to cramp.
“When you are involved in different competitions like the Champions League, it’s a new competition for us and we spent a lot of energy on Wednesday,” he said.
“It was different from the last two seasons when we were only playing in the Europa League, where we could rotate the squad and the starting eleven.”
The Argentinian added: “It’s new for us, and it’s important to learn, and sometimes you are surprised when you make changes.
“All our internationals had a difficult summer, they played in the Euros, and it’s more difficult to get fit.”
– ‘Gift of a goal’ –
Sunderland have still failed to win in the Premier League this season, and continued a remarkably poor run of not winning in either August or September since 2012.
Their preparation was further dented with the curious withdrawal of Patrick van Aanholt before the game, a situation that manager David Moyes refused to elaborate on after the match.
However, with the dismissal of Adnan Januzaj late on, Moyes felt his players fell foul of referee Mike Dean.
“I was disappointed with him, but I was also disappointed with the referee, because it was a free kick on the edge of the box and he doesn’t give it, and Adnan shouldn’t have spoke back to the referee,” he said.
“The second challenge could be a yellow card, it looked worse on the television than it did standing at pitchside,” Moyes added.
The Wearsiders are second-bottom with just one point, and Moyes felt that the performance was to be expected.
“To be truthful, it was tough. Credit to the players, that’s what we are at the moment — we have to be resilient in games and looking to get things,” he said.
“We came here trying to get something but we were on the back foot from the start.
“Tottenham had most of the ball, we had to defend for long periods but at least we gave ourselves a chance of winning the game today.
“I think we got improvements, we kept at it. We’re still trying to see better play of the ball, we try and play better, but we’re just at the start.
“We’ve got to start picking up some points, but it’s the start of a long journey. We’ve got to get better — the goal was a gift.”
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