Jose Mourinho shifted the attention away from the future of Harry Kane as he prepares to welcome back another of his key attackers.
Spurs return from the international break this weekend with an away match against Newcastle on Sunday. Having lost six of their last 10 away games, they will be keen to avoid any more slip-ups. But after beating Aston Villa on the road just before the break, they remain within close distance of the top four.
Therefore, a good result at St James’ Park will be necessary. Spurs have been boosted by the return of Son Heung-min, who has missed their last two matches.
Mourinho confirmed that the attacker is back in training and will be called up – but there are still some absences.
“Son is good, he will be selected,” Mourinho said. “He was injured, he trained with the team fully this morning.
“He did partial exercises with the team yesterday, not a complete session. This morning was the first day he did it.
“Last week didn’t train at all so it was completely impossible to play international. This time was a good chance for him to recover.
“This time we have [Matt] Doherty and Ben Davies out. [Sergio Reguilon] is ready.”
Since Spurs’ last game, talk of Harry Kane’s future has dominated the news once again. The striker has put a decision about a potential transfer on hold until the summer, but Spurs may be anxious.
Mourinho refused to be drawn on the chances of Kane leaving in the summer, though.
“I cannot play that game,” he said. “I have to focus on what he is for us.
“Of course I’m always pleased with my players when they go to international games. But I cannot play that game.
“I can only focus on what he does for us and the effort he put in for us at Villa, the effort he put in for England, and the match at Newcastle and whether playing well or not, he will be there for the team.”
Kane has given little indication in public of what his transfer plans actually are. His most recent comments only suggested he would wait until after Euro 2020 to decide, rather than confirming he wanted to stay.
But Mourinho had no issues with his ambiguous answer and stressed that his focus remains on the pitch.
“No, no,” he said. “I want Harry to be with us what he has been.
“I want Harry to repeat against Newcastle the same performance he had against Aston Villa; the same commitment, desire and leadership. I know he will.”
Mourinho on prospect of missing out on Europe
With the attention firmly fixed on the pitch, Mourinho will be hoping for a strong last nine games of the league season. A lot is at stake; Spurs have a similar chance of breaking into the Champions League spots as they do of dropping out of the European places altogether.
Asked if the season would be a failure if they were to miss out, Mourinho vowed to stay positive.
“I don’t want to speak about that possibility because I don’t want to be pessimistic and try to anticipate scenarios and evaluate the season before it’s finished.”