Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho lavished praise on “fantastic” Harry Kane after his man of the match performance helped earn a 2-0 win against Manchester City, taking the club top of the table.
England’s captain didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he was instrumental in much of Spurs’ good work going forwards as he again impressed in a slightly deeper role.
His movement helped open up space for Son Heung-min to latch onto Tanguy Ndombele’s lofted through ball and open the scoring, before he laid on a perfectly weighted assist for Giovani Lo Celso 20 minutes into the second half.
Unsurprisingly, Kane was the subject of high praise from Mourinho when he spoke to Sky Sports and in his post-match press conference.
“He’s a fantastic player. Maybe he will be responsible for everyone that loves football to change the way people look at a striker. The tendency is to see how many goals a striker scored – you are as good as how many goals you score.
“There is a Golden Boot for that. But a striker can be the man of the match – I don’t know who was responsible for giving him that award but I praise them – as a striker can be the man of the match without scoring.”
Mourinho then discussed tactics and strategy, praising his players for sticking to their pre-game plans meticulously against a City side who are still exceptionally strong despite recent rocky results.
“For me, I prefer the players to speak because they are the ones, they were fantastic, they gave everything,” Mourinho said. “They follow a strategy and football sometimes, more than ever, strategy plays an important part. They were amazing.
“It was very important to respect [City] and not to forget the team they are. If we follow people speaking about them as being not as good as before, if we follow the fake table because they have one match in hand, we would probably be playing in a different way. City is a fantastic team that lost against a team that strategically was very good but City is still City.
“Of course, you have to score and we didn’t have many chances. You need a top goalkeeper to make crucial saves in crucial moments, but we knew they would have more of the ball but we would be very comfortable playing that way because we knew the way to do it.”
After losing their opening Premier League game of the season, Tottenham are now unbeaten in their last eight; picking up 20 points to usurp early pacesetters Leicester, who take on Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.