Jose Mourinho has responded emphatically to Paul Merson’s claims that Harry Kane will struggle to score as many goals for Tottenham in his system.
Kane made his comeback from a ruptured hamstring injury in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United. However, the England man struggled to impose himself.
Despite it being early days in his time under Mourinho, Sky Sports pundit Merson suggested Mourinho’s methods would hinder Kane’s prowess.
“When Jose took the job I worried for Harry Kane,” Merson said. “He played under [Mauricio] Pochettino and Tottenham had a go wherever they went. There were goals, there were crosses, there were shots.
“He’s going to be playing up front on his own and it is going to be hard work. In the end he is trying to hit 60-yard passes just to get involved in the game. That’s not Harry Kane.
“He’s not fit, he’s definitely not fit, they played virtually with 10 men, I can’t remember how many times he touched the ball in the whole game.”
What’s more, Merson said Kane could seriously consider moving on if Mourinho ends up driving him away from north London.
“I think he’ll have a serious think at the end of the season, I really do,” he added.
“I don’t see him getting 25-30 goals a season the way Jose will want to play, and he [Mourinho] won’t want to play like it was when he first got in there, 4-2s and 5-3s, no way.
“He’ll like those games last night, the 1-1s.”
And, speaking at his press conference on Monday, Mourinho addressed Merson’s comments with an extraordinary rant. As per Dan Kilpatrick of the Evening Standard, he said that the Portuguese boss ‘listed the goals/games records of Drogba, Ronaldo, Benzema, Milito & Zlatan under him’.
“I feel a bit strange at some analysis and some comments, especially as it looks for me at the beginning of some comments and analysis have started from Paul (Merson),” Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference previewing Tuesday’s visit of West Ham.
“I have to say I respect a lot people like him and because I respect him a lot, I want to be nice in my answer. I don’t think he’s ready for a bad answer so I try to be nice and say something that people can think a little bit.
“First of all Harry played his first game for six months.
“The record of goals that Harry has for me is easy for me. Go to your data and it’s easy to see how many matches he played with me and how many goals he scored before his injury.
“I had a few strikers that played for me and they’re not bad. I have a guy called (Didier) Drogba, he played for me four seasons, he scored 186 goals – an average (of) 46 goals per season.
“I had another guy who is also not bad, plays for Juventus now (Ronaldo). He played for me three seasons, he scored 186 goals, which gives an average of 56 goals per season.
“I had another guy who is also not bad, called Karim Benzema. He played for me three seasons, he was not always starting because he was quite young at the time, he scored 78 goals in three seasons, which gives a 26-goal average per season.
“I had another called (Diego) Milito, he played one season, he scored 30 goals, won three titles.
“I had another guy, he played for one-and-a-half seasons, in the other half he had a big injury. A tall guy called Zlatan (Ibrahimovic). He scored 58 goals, which gives a 29 average per season.
“So dear Paul, I have lots of respect for you. I think Harry Kane has no problem at all to score goals in my teams, especially when he’s fit and fresh and has routines of playing. That’s my message to somebody I have lots of respect for.”
Tottenham resolve short-term futures of eight players
Tottenham have resolved the short-term futures of eight players, including defender Jan Vertonghen.
The Belgian was due to leave on June 30 but has signed a temporary deal until the current campaign finishes.
Goalkeeper Michel Vorm has also committed himself to the club until the end of the season.
Spurs had until Tuesday to agree extensions with players out of contract at the end of the month. They did, however, leave it late with Vertonghen.
The 33-year-old, who joined in 2012, is still expected to leave the club in the summer. He has held talks with a number of suitors. Read more here.