Harry Kane will be fit for north London derby
Kane expected to face Arsenal after scoring twice against Dinamo Zagreb in Europa League last-16 tie, and then being seen with ice on his knee
11 March, 2021 — By Dan Carrier at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Europa League: Round of 16 – First Leg
SPURS 2 (Kane 25, 70)
DINAMO ZAGREB 0
JOSE Mourinho says he fully expects Harry Kane to be fit for Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal after he picked up a knock in Tottenham’s 2-0 Europa League win over Dinamo Zagreb tonight (Thursday).
The England captain grabbed both goals in the last-16 first-leg win, but was taken off in the final 10 minutes and was later seen on the touchline with ice on his knee.
Quizzed on whether Kane will be fit for the weekend, Mourinho said: “I hope so, I believe so. It is a big match, only big problems stop him to be there. Let’s see the reaction tomorrow but I am sure he will be fine.”
Spurs will take a 2-0 cushion to Croatia next week that should be enough to see them into the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Playing their 48th competitive game of the season, Mourinho had spoken of how no team in the last-16 were pushovers – and Dinamo’s Champions League pedigree made them a truly stern test.
Yet with one eye on Sunday’s north London derby, the Spurs boss shuffled his pack, making seven changes across the board from the weekend win against Crystal Palace.
It meant giving Gareth Bale a spot on the bench, while Eric Dier came in for Toby Alderweireld and Serge Aurier replaced Matt Doherty.
In the midfield, Moussa Sissoko took Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s holding role alongside Tanguy Ndombele and Erik Lamela and Dele Alli were drafted in to the attack.
Mourinho had said in the build-up he would need to manage his squad as the fixtures piled up – and that he had spoken with club chairman Daniel Levy about ensuring he has two players of similar quality in each position.
Nights like this are there to test such assumptions, and while Mourinho relied on Kane and Heung-Min Son to get the goals, the fresh players, particularly Lamela, did what was needed.
“It was not a bad performance, it was positive,” said Mourinho. “We could have had more intensity as it was a fresh team, but it is hard to play against a physical side who defend well.
“They tried to keep it at just 1-0 and for me, the result could have been a little bit bigger. I thought the third goal would come and was deserved in the reality of the game.
“But the tie is still open and we have to go there and play a serious match. We are not yet in the quarter-finals.”
Tottenham took the lead on 24 minutes thanks to the determination and trickery of the left foot of Lamela. Always playing like he has a big point to prove, his was the standout performance of the stand-ins.
The Argentine won a loose ball and set off at pace, squeezing past two challenges. He then strode into the box and, under the desperate attention of three Dinamo defenders, sold a cute dummy before scooping a low shot against the post.
It bounced back across the face of the goal, and who else was on hand to drill home but Kane?
It gave Spurs a cushion to build on. Dinamo had shown they could meet Mourinho’s side physically, but lacked the wit to threaten Hugo Lloris’s goal.
The visitors were limited to two whiffs of a chance in the opening half: the first, after one minute, came when a sloppy ball from Ndombele gave Mislav Orsic the space to run half the pitch before trundling a shot into Lloris’s grateful hands.
The other came on the half-hour mark, from the boot of the lively Bruno Petkovic. The striker drilled one from the edge of the box, which saw Lloris forced into a low stop.
Spurs started the second half with a determination to grab a vital second, and on 50, Ndombele tricked past Lovro Majer but was brought down with a crunch on his instep and a body block as he pulled off a nutmeg.
How the referee didn’t see it as a penalty caused some consternation on the home bench. Replays showed it a stone cold spot kick, which Mourinho could brush off with a philosophical shrug after the game had been won.
Moments later, a deep cross saw Kane spin the ball back across the goal – but Dinamo managed to clear the danger as Son lurked.
After making a triple substitution on 63, bringing on Bale, Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn, Tottenham got that vital second.
Moura’s sweeping ball out to Aurier was volleyed first-time back across the goal. Defender Kevin Theophile-Catherine got in an almighty muddle as he tried to clear, allowing Kane to smash home.
The game then disintegrated into some nasty niggling stuff, with Dinamo committing foul after foul as they sought to limit the damage and hold on to some hope for next week’s second leg.
Mourinho said afterwards he had enjoyed the way his players responded to moments of thuggery and he will be heartened by the input from those who were handed a start.
This was a deserved victory by squad players and a two-nil lead to take to Dinamo on Thursday stands Spurs in good stead. On tonight’s showing, when these second stringers are needed, they won’t let Mourinho down.
Tottenham: Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Sissoko, Ndombele (Hojbjerg, 72), Lamela (Bale, 64), Alli (Bergwijn, 64), Son (Moura, 64), Kane (Vinicius, 84)
Substitutes not used: Hart, Whiteman, Doherty, Reguilon, Alderweireld, Tanganga, Winks
Dinamo Zagreb: Livakovic, Ristovski, Lauritsen, Theophile-Catherine, Leovac, Majer (Kastrati, 64), Jakic, Ademi (Franjic, 90), Ivanusec, Petkovic (Gavranovic, 78), Orsic (Atiemwen, 64)
Substitutes not used: Zagorac, Josipovic, Cabraja, Tolic, Burton, Misic, Stojanovic, Peric