Tottenham boss Antonio Conte says that Harry Kane is undroppable despite his goal drought.
Kane has scored just once in 12 Premier League games, looking a shadow of the player who won the Golden Boot and playmaker award last season.
He has struggled following an emotional summer as England were beaten on penalties in the final of Euro 2020 before he was involved in a transfer saga amid a desire to join Manchester City.
Conte’s arrival at Spurs has revitalised his performances, but goals are still missing as he squandered a golden chance in the 2-0 win over Brentford.
And, with Spurs amid a run of 10 games in 30 days, Conte says Kane will start all of them until they can find a way to cope.
“If I answer in an honest way, to start a game without Harry now is a bit difficult for me,” he said.
“It’s a bit difficult for me. Honestly we are talking about an important player for us, an important player for all.
“Yeah, in this moment I am answering in this way. I hope to improve the situation, to improve the confidence of all players and to see that maybe without Harry we can cover the situation. “Not in the same way, but in a way that can be good to get three points.
“Now in this moment, honestly, I don’t see this team starting without Harry.”
Despite Kane’s drought in the league he has scored freely in European competition and for England and Conte is happy with his performances.
“I always like to be honest with my players, and if I wasn’t satisfied with Harry’s performances, for sure I would tell him,” the Italian added.
“But I repeat: I’m very satisfied with his performances – he is playing well and doing fantastic work for the team.
“I know that, for strikers, it is vital to score, but at the same time we have to think first of Tottenham, what is best for Tottenham, and what is important for us if Harry scores is to take three points.
“A player like Harry can always solve the game because he has fantastic quality, he is a complete player, a real top player, and I’m honestly not worried about him.
“Sometimes a striker does not score, and that’s life, but his contribution to the team is still at a very important level.”
Spurs are within striking distance of the top four even without Kane’s goals ahead of this weekend’s clash with Norwich.
Achieving Champions League football would be a fine achievement, but Conte says no targets were given to him prior to joining and that he made no “stupid promises” to chairman Daniel Levy.
“When I arrived and spoke with the club, they didn’t ask me for anything,” he added.
“Daniel Levy wanted me strongly, not because I will bring with me stupid promises.
“Daniel Levy wanted me here for my reputation, for my work, my ideas, my method, my capacity to build something important especially because in the start they didn’t have solid foundation.
“I think he wanted me for this reason and I accepted for this reason.
“Honestly, if he asked me something different I would probably have said, ‘Thanks very much but it’s not the right moment’.”
Conte has maintained that his primary focus is to improve the quality of his current squad, but hinted for the first time that there may be work to be done in the transfer window.
“The most important thing for us is to try to improve how the situation is working. As now is the only way is in our hands,” he said.
“Then if there is the possibility to improve the quality then we will try to do it. Now my first thoughts is to work to exploit and to get the best out of the players that I have.
“I have a good group of players and I enjoy a lot to work with this group of players. Now we must be focused on this and then there is time to make the right evaluation with the club.”