Harry Kane keeps Tottenham Hotspurs dreaming

Tottenham Hotspur’s pursuit of Chelsea at the head of the Premier League table may be fuelled more by hope than expectation, but with Harry Kane in his current vein of form, Mauricio Pochettino’s side are entitled to retain belief the current leaders can be caught.

Harry Kane keeps Tottenham Hotspurs dreaming

Having scored a hat-trick on each of the previous two Sundays, Kane fell just one goal short of extending that sequence. Instead, the forward had to be satisfied he was the main reason Spurs claimed a ninth successive home league win that reduced the deficit to Chelsea to seven points, with Antonio Conte’s side travelling to face West Ham United tonight.

Chelsea have shown few signs of slipping up since they lost at White Hart Lane in January, their first defeat since September and one that ended a run of 13 successive league wins.

If nerves hit, however, Tottenham are doing their best to maintain the pressure, although they endured an unnecessarily anxious ending when they gave Everton an unexpected sniff of a point.

In control from the moment Kane’s long-range effort gave them a 22nd minute lead and apparently assured of the points when the striker added a 56th minute second, Spurs allowed Everton back into the game when Romelu Lukaku took advantage of Jan Vertonghen’s 81st minute slip and then again through Enner Valencia in added time, moments after Dele Alli had restored the two-goal advantage.

Once again, Pochettino had cause to be grateful for Kane’s eye for goal that saw him move one ahead of Lukaku in the race for the Golden Boot, and the striker’s frustration at not claiming a third goal summed up his belief.

“I wanted that third goal and I had chances which I should have scored,” said Kane. “It would have been another match ball but delighted with the win. I feel sharp, fitter than ever so I need to keep it going. Every time I go out there I want to score goals.”

For Pochettino, the forward’s success comes from hard work and not simply because he sat out six weeks of the season in autumn with an ankle injury. “I think he is fresh because he trains a lot,” said Pochettino.

“He makes a lot of double sessions and he is very professional. For me, to be fresh, you need to work hard, every day. If you are asleep and you eat and you forget to train, maybe you are fat, like me! And you cannot run. I think it’s about being consistent and training. He is very focused now in training and in taking care of himself and you can see how he is.”

While Kane continues to find the net with regularity, Spurs can continue to dream of a first title since 1961. “The most important thing is to show the belief on the pitch and today I think we showed that,” said Pochettino. “And more than talk and more than speak outside, it is better the team show their performance.

“We need to be there, it’s not up to us of course, but it’s up to us to be ready if they fail. And I think this was very important for us to get three points and keep second place. It’s true that the gap is seven points and I would like to be closer than seven points but I think, if you keep going in that way, maybe we will achieve in the end, if [Chelsea] fail.”

Kane’s opening strike was outstanding. He collected the ball with his back to goal, turned, and beat Joel Robles with a powerful strike from 30 yards.

Everton offered little response and were guilty of a horrible defensive mix-up that led to Kane’s second when Robles rolled the ball out to Morgan Schneiderlin who lost out under pressure from Moussa Dembele, allowing Alli to find Kane — the forward finished with ease.

The match appeared to be over but Lukaku finally got a run at the Spurs defence nine minutes from time and saw his path open up when Vertonghen fell as he turned, allowing the forward to beat Hugo Lloris. Tottenham responded in added time when Alli met Harry Winks’ free kick with a clever flick but the visitors replied in near-identical fashion through Valencia.

“I think overall Spurs were the better team,” said Koeman. “They created more chances than we did. They had more chances to score from good football from the creativity in the Tottenham team. But we know if we make the mistakes we did for the second and the third goals, you don’t get a point out of the game.”

TOTTENHAM (3-4-2-1):

Lloris 7; Dier 6, Alderweireld 8, Vertonghen 6; Walker 7, Wanyama 8, Dembele 8 (Winks 78, 6), Davies 6; Eriksen 6 (Sissoko 87, 6), Alli 8; Kane 9 (Janssen 90).

Subs not used:

Vorm, Son, Trippier, Wimmer.

EVERTON (4-2-3-1):

Robles 5; Coleman 6, Williams 6, Funes Mori 6, Baines 5; Barry 4 (McCarthy 64, 6), Schneiderlin 6; Gueye 6 (Valencia 80), Barkley 8, Davies 5 (Mirallas 64, 6); Lukaku 7.

Subs not used:

Stekelenberg, Jagielka, Holgate, Lookman.

Referee:

Michael Oliver 7

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