Paul Merson has defended his comments about Jose Mourinho not bringing the best out of Harry Kane at Tottenham.
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson caused a stir when he suggested Kane may have to leave Spurs due to Mourinho’s tactics.
However, the Tottenham boss hit back at the Sky Sports pundit, in an extraordinary four-minute monologue about his record working with strikers in the past.
Mourinho pointed to his work with the likes of Didier Drogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo to suggest he could inspire strikers to their best levels.
Merson is standing by his original argument, though – suggesting a current Wolves star would be a better fit for Mourinho than Kane.
“Jose Mourinho is one of the world’s greatest managers but I stand by what I said about him and Harry Kane,” Merson told the Daily Star.
“Certain players suit certain managers and Kane doesn’t suit Mourinho.
“His goal against West Ham won’t end the questions about his future at Tottenham. How many good chances did he have in that game?
“Kane is working off rations because of the way Mourinho likes his teams to play. I still think he might have to leave.”
Merson claimed that the way Mourinho turned his comments back against him was just a distraction from the bigger picture – that Spurs could be on the same downwards trajectory as their rivals Arsenal.
“Mourinho was quite clever making his press conference before the game all about me and what I’d said.
“It meant nobody was talking about how his side are not going to finish in the top four.
“Spurs should be in the Champions League. They reached the final last season. For the last few years I’ve had them down as title contenders.
“Now they are also-rans. I just think they are going a bit like Arsenal. That’s not all Mourinho’s fault. He’s had to pick up the pieces.
“But Kane is an issue. Didier Drogba was perfect for Mourinho. You could get it up to him and he’d hold it. He would bully people. Be a focal point.
“Kane just wants to score goals. That’s all I was saying. He wants to win the Golden Boot. But Mourinho teams don’t make a shedload of chances.”
The pundit then suggested that Wolves striker Raul Jimenez would be an ideal fit for Mourinho instead.
“Someone like Raul Jimenez at Wolves suits Spurs right now more than Kane,” Merson added. “That’s the kind of striker Mourinho likes.
“I wasn’t having a go at Mourinho when I brought this up. I’m not having a go at him now.
“I think he’s right not to change for Kane – I just think Kane isn’t going to like it if his side are sixth or seventh next season and he’s way off winning the Golden Boot.
“If Mourinho wants to play this way – and why shouldn’t he? – it’s not going to work with Harry Kane. It’s going to be hard.”