Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has come out to defend Harry Kane’s poor form in the Premier League while backing him to find his scoring boots in the competition sooner than later.
Harry Kane was the subject of major transfer speculation involving last season’s title winners and UEFA Champions League finalists, Manchester City, who were ready to splash in excess of £100 million to secure his signature.
Manchester City went most of their title-winning 2020/21 season without a central striker due to their main striker and record goalscorer, Sergio Aguero, battling serious fitness issues for most of the season. Gabriel Jesus, Aguero’s backup, played his best football behind a striker or on either flank, leading manager Pep Guardiola to do a lot of tinkering.
In the summer, they lost Aguero on a free transfer to Barcelona and were in dire need of a striker which led to the transfer speculations surrounding Harry Kane. Kane ended up remaining at Spurs but has since starved Spurs fans of the quality which he displayed for the past seven seasons.
The England captain has scored just once in 12 Premier League appearances for Spurs this season. In many games, he has looked unmotivated and his game has felt forced. The reason for his struggles could be narrowed down to all the events of the summer which also included the emotional penalty shootout loss to Italy with England in the final of the Euro 2020 tournament in Wembley.
Conte’s arrival at Spurs has since seen a change in his game this season. However, the goals are still not forthcoming, with the 28-year-old missing chances that he would bury with eyes closed in the past.
Tottenham is first on Harry Kane’s mind, Conte claims
Conte defended his star man’s form to journalists in a news conference ahead of Spurs’ trip to Norwich City on Sunday. “First of all, I’m sure Harry is happy if we win and he doesn’t score. Because Tottenham is the first thought for us and Harry,” the Italian manager said.
“It’s important to have chances to score and we’re improving a lot in this aspect. I’m sure Harry is going to score many goals.
“I’m sure he’s going to have a good performance in the same way he had against Brentford against every team we play. I’m very pleased for the way that he’s playing.
“Then I know the striker wants to score but we want to give him many chances to score. I think we’re on the right path to do this type of situation.”
Kane’s form, however, is limited only to the Premier League, as he has consistently turned up for Spurs in the European Conference League where he has six goals in five games so far in the competition. He also remains England’s most dangerous man upfront, as he scored seven goals in their last three qualifiers.
Conte acknowledged this but defended Kane’s form by comparing the tough games in the league to games against minnow clubs in the Conference League and minnow nations in the qualifiers.
“I think that the Premier League is a very, very tough league and every game that you play is not easy,” the Tottenham boss added. “Sometimes with the national team you can play against teams not so strong.
“Also to have more opportunities to score, not only for him but all the players. This league is very strong, this league is the most difficult league in the world.
“For this reason, it’s not simple to win a game, get three points and to score goals. This is the great difference that you can find between the two different situations.”