Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has backed goal-shy striker Harry Kane to rediscover his goalscoring touch after drawing another blank as his side lifted the burden of a winless start against Sunderland yesterday.
The visitors snatched victory through Ryan Mason inside the final 10 minutes, as the midfielder notched the second Premier League goal of his career after an incisive move involving Kane and substitute Erik Lamela.
Despite netting for England against San Marino and Switzerland during the international break, Kane – who scored 31 goals across all competitions last season – has endured a barren start to the campaign domestically and has not found the net in five games.
“I am happy with him and he gives the best for the team,” said Pochettino, who handed a debut to £22m forward Son Heung-min. “He only needs time to score again. The moment will arrive. He has the skills.
“After two months last season he started scoring. He is very confident and very happy in the changing room. Our mentality like a team is first the result, the collective situation is our target. The mentality is a collective one. The team. Everyone has targets individually but first it is for the team.”
Former Spurs forward Jermain Defoe outpaced centre-half Toby Alderweireld to latch onto a clinical through ball from Jeremain Lens in the 25th minute, only for his scuffed effort to cannon off goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’s right-hand post.
Kane’s woes in front of goal continued midway through the second period as his mis-kicked volley from the corner of the six-yard box trickled harmlessly wide following an enticing cross from Mason.
Tottenham broke the deadlock with eight minutes remaining when Lamela sliced open the Sunderland defence for Mason to dink over advancing stopper Costel Pantilimon. Mason was stretchered off after suffering a knee injury while scoring.
Defeat sent Sunderland to the foot of the Premier League although the Wearsiders were inches from equalising moments after Mason’s strike as substitute Jack Rodwell’s clipped effort from Younes Kaboul’s cut-back thundered against the crossbar.
Despite their success, Spurs still languish in the league’s bottom half, in 12th place, although Pochettino insisted their performance showcased the hallmarks of a team destined to climb the table.
“It’s another clean sheet, the first victory of the league after five games, and now we can move on. This will help us with our confidence for the next games,” added Pochettino.
“The goal showed how we tried to play and what our philosophy is, it was fantastic.”