Harry Kane has offered a solution to how Tottenham Hotspur can solve their attacking issues against sides that sit back when Burnley come to town on Sunday afternoon.
The 28-year-old scored twice on Thursday night in Spurs’ crucial 3-0 north London derby win, which puts them just a point behind Arsenal with two games to go. In the past fortnight Tottenham have taken seven points from a possible nine against Leicester, Liverpool and the Gunners – teams that push forward – however, they took just one point from their previous two matches against Brighton and Brentford, who both gave them less space to operate in behind them as they failed to register a single shot on target.
Burnley are likely to bring a similar game plan and Spurs lost 1-0 at Turf Moor in February, struggling to break down the Clarets, who were then managed by Sean Dyche. Kane believes the only solution to preventing days when shots and chances are hard to come by is simply by showing more movement.
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“I think we have to keep the energy high. I think you saw [against Arsenal] and against Liverpool, we had really high energy without the ball, with the ball, and created chances, and obviously scored some goals,” he said. “So when you’re playing teams like Burnley at home, especially when there’s pressure on the game, you have to go out there and keep the energy high, and make sure you’re winning the ball back high, and creating chances and that’s what we’ll try to do.”
He added: “It was a really tough game [in February], it was a tight game away at their place. It was raining, windy, a really difficult game, a difficult night for us. They got a goal when it could have gone either way. So look, we expect them to make it difficult for us. Probably we’ll have more of the possession, but we’ll have to break them down, try to get that early goal, and open the game up. So we’ve got a couple of days to try to prepare for that, and recover well, and make sure we’re ready.”
The atmosphere at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during the victory against Arsenal was electric, with Spurs boss Antonio Conte claiming the fans effectively scored a goal for the hosts with their noise. Kane believes it was one of the best victories inside the new stadium, which opened in 2019, as the record 62,027-strong crowd roared throughout.
“I think so. There was a lot of anticipation before the game, during the week. The atmosphere was electric from the start. The pressure was on us to deliver tonight and I thought we handled that really well,” said the striker. “We started the game well. Took our chances and then second half we controlled it really nicely, especially with the game on Sunday as well.
“I think we showed our experience, the experience in the squad. In a big game like this, at home, in our stadium, we knew we had to win. Otherwise, Champions League was pretty much dead for us. So it was nice to respond that way, and show that we’re capable of playing that way under that pressure. But, like I said, and like we know, it means nothing if we don’t go and win on Sunday now.
“There’s still two games to go. It was important to win, of course. We play before them on Sunday, they play Monday night, so I feel like if we can win that, we obviously put a bit more pressure on them when they’ve got a tough game away to Newcastle, but we can only control us and what we can do. Obviously, Burnley are fighting for points themselves, so they’ll be coming here to make it difficult for us. We’ve got to be ready for that.”
Kane made it 13 goals from 15 Premier League matches against the Gunners with his penalty and header on Thursday night and he admits it’s a fixture he looks for in the schedule each season.
“I enjoy the fixture, I look forward to it throughout the whole year. There’s something special about the north London derby,” he explained. “Something with the fans and around the club, and the whole build-up to the game and especially this one. It’s the first big one we’ve had over the last few years where there was a lot of pressure, and a lot of points to play for in a big Champions League push. So it was nice to come out on top.
“That [first] game [at the Emirates Stadium] was a really disappointing day for us, away against them. I think we had that in the back of our minds. We had a real determination to go out there and win tonight. And we put in a great performance from start to finish. Credit to the boys, credit to the staff who worked really hard throughout the whole week, to prepare for this game, and we delivered on the night.”
Now with just a point between the two sides, it is all about whether Arsenal can hold their nerves in their final two matches at Newcastle and then at home to Everton. Tottenham take on Burnley on Sunday lunchtime before the Gunners’ Monday night trip to St James’ Park.
“I think I’d rather be going first than second, of course, but we still need to go out there and win,” said Kane. “Otherwise it makes their job a lot easier. So if we can do that on Sunday, of course, it makes their game a lot tougher on Monday night away to Newcastle. We’ll see what happens.
“We’ll be watching it for sure. We need to get our job done first on Sunday and then of course, I think a lot of us will be watching it, and hoping for a good result for Newcastle.”
Spurs have less than 72 hours between their fixtures against Arsenal and Burnley and Kane feels that the way the team managed Arsenal’s 10 men on Thursday night could be key.
“We need to make sure we’re ready. It is a quick turnaround, but it was nice how we controlled the game the way we did in that second half today, I think that was important to reserve a bit of energy,” he said.
“It’s just about recovery, sleeping well, eating well, making sure we prepare well. Probably more so in the meetings, looking at the opposition, rather than on the pitch and just come out here and bring the energy. We’ve got one week left in the season, so there’s no excuse not to go out there and give it everything.”