Harry Kane scored the winning goal but it was the first Premier League start of new attacking partner Richarlison who caught the eye on a sultry north London afternoon. The Brazil forward they call ‘Richy’ in these parts already looks a sound buy for the €60m or so Tottenham paid Everton this summer.
This sixth match of Tottenham’s unbeaten start to the season marked his first start after some impressive cameo substitute appearances. The peroxide blonde with a lust for the dramatic will continue to prove his worth this week as Antonio Conte prepares his side for their return to Champions League football at home to Marseille on Wednesday.
Conte must also decide between Richy and impressive Swedish winger Dejan Kulusevski in his starting line-up. And Kane, who added to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s opener to ensure Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late Fulham strike was irrelevant, made it clear he welcomes the competition to play alongside him.
Kane said: “(Richy) was brilliant. He’s been doing great every time he has come off the bench. He was ready and once he started he made a real impact. From start to finish he was fighting for every ball, he was making good runs, getting chances.
“He was unlucky not to score with the offside decision against him and one off the post. It is so brilliant to have him; he’s just gotta keep doing what he’s doing and help the team as much as possible.”
Conte has declared Richarlison adds a mean, winning streak to a squad high on promise but low on trophies. The Brazilian tackles back, wins free kicks out of nothing and chases every lost cause; a pain for referees and opponents alike. No wonder Conte wanted him so badly.
Kane added: “He’s got that mindset, he’s got that personality where every tackle, every training session he just wants to play football and impress the manager. I think he’s definitely been doing that. He’s a great addition to the team. He’s been working really hard and every time he gets an opportunity he just needs to keep doing what he’s been doing.
“He came in for Kulu in this game. They’re two different players. Kulu likes to maybe come inside more and make crosses with his left, whereas I feel like Richy, in this game, was playing closer to me as more of a striker. We were linking up and making runs down the middle of the pitch. Whoever plays we need to make a good connection and I feel like we did that.”
Haaland and a trip to Manchester City awaits next Saturday. First they face Marseille and Kane believes Conte’s unbeaten side are well set to go deep into a competition they reached the final of in 2019.
“I am really excited,” Kane expressed. “We had a great finish to last season to get that Champions League spot. It had been a few years where we hadn’t played and for sure we’ve missed it as players and as a club.
“We’ve got to start well it’s an important competition for us. We’ve got to start well on Wednesday.”
Then it’s the big Haaland v Kane striker showdown at the weekend.
“I said at the start of the year when I was away with internationals about the players who come to the Premier League. We’ve had some top strikers here throughout the whole history and it’s no different now. Whoever comes in wants to make a difference – coming in for Man City and Liverpool are good strikers.
“It’s a long season. I’ve started well but there’s a lot of games coming up we’ve just got to keep focusing on ourselves. That’s what I try to do.”
Lloris 8, Romero 6, Bentancur 7, Lenglet 6, Dier 5, Sessegnon 7 (Perisic 84), Emerson 6, Hojbjerg 6, Richarlison 7, Son 7, Kane 7 (Kulusevski 78).
Forster, Doherty, Skipp, Sanchez, Tanganga, Davies, Bissouma.
: Leno 8, Tete 7, Adarabioyo 6, Ream 7, Robinson 6 (Mbabu 29), Reed 6, Palhinha 6 (Vinicius 85), De Cordova-Reid 5 (James 60), Pereira 5 (Cairney 61), Kebano 5 (Willian 60), Mitrovic 6.
: Rodak, Duffy, Chalobah, Vinicius, Diop.
: Stuart Attwell 6.