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Kane, Rose: Stopping slump all about Spurs’ mentality

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Tottenham Hotspur had to look — and dig — deep within themselves in order to snap their three-game losing skid (losses to Watford, Liverpool and Inter Milan) with a 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, according to Harry Kane and Danny Rose.

[ MORE: Kane, Lamela propel Spurs to skid-snapping victory over Brighton ]

It wasn’t about tactics, it wasn’t about quality or transfers made (or not made); it was all about getting back to the right mentality — the one instilled by Mauricio Pochettino in guding the club to three straight top-four finishes. The level of commitment and application had dropped in recent weeks, Kane said after the game, which meant they had to get back to being themselves once again — quotes from the BBC:

“Today was about mentality, getting around the pitch, pressing high and harder and I think we did that.

“We could have put it to bed and won 3-0 or 4-0 but it’s good to get back to winning ways. The gaffer will be pleased and we can build on this.

“I didn’t see the penalty in real time, but I spoke to one of their players and they said it was handball. Sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t, but it was given and it worked well for us.”

Pochettino was delighted to get the three points, but to concede such an avoidable goal during stoppage time is clearly the part of the game which sticks out most in his mind — quotes also from the BBC:

“For everyone who watched the game, they were wondering what we were doing. The way we conceded was crazy. One minute from the end, we should be more vigilant and focused.

“To allow them in that position, it is painful to concede. We won but need to work and realize we can not concede this type of goal.”

As for the much-discussed fatigue which Spurs are said to be battling due to a summer of World Cup action, and a shallow squad combined with early-season injuries, Rose says no one at the club is buying it. Spurs’ left back even went so far as to say, “Fatigue is a bit of a myth” — quotes also from the BBC:

“We’re over the moon with the win. It was a sloppy goal at the end, and I’ll have to look at myself and my positioning.

“[On fatigue] The manager is a big believer that it’s all in your mind and he prepares us in the right way every week.

“He looks at how much we’ve done and how far we’ve run and he prepares us right for each game. Fatigue is a bit of a myth and we don’t pay a lot of attention to that.”

Well, that’s certainly one way to look at fatigue, even if it flies in the face of everything every scientist and medical professional has ever observed. That should work out perfectly for Spurs in the long run.

Spurs snap skid at rain-soaked Brighton

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  • Murray concedes PK
  • Kane converts it
  • Lamela put it away
  • Spurs skid ends

Harry Kane and Erik Lamela score on a rain-soaked Amex Stadium pitch as Tottenham Hotspur put an end to its losing ways with a 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Goalkeeper Paulo Gazzinaga made his first start since last season’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, and came within a Anthony Knockaert stoppage time goal of another clean sheet.

Spurs move fifth with 10 points, ending their three-match losing streak in all competitions. Brighton is 13th with six points.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Clad in their green kits, Spurs nearly went ahead in the first few moments but Toby Alderweireld‘s inspired ball bounded through the box.

Spurs had most of the ball but little danger when Kieran Trippier‘s free kick was blocked by the raised arm of Glenn Murray inside the box.

That sent Kane to the spot, and the big Englishman did not miss his chance.

A sleepy, sloppy match opened up a bit with Christian Eriksen‘s promising curler that missed far post in the 54th minute.

Lamela made it 2-0 with a pinpoint low shot in the final 15 minutes, and Brighton’s hopes for a draw were dashed on a rainy day at the Amex.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Knockaert made it 2-1 in the third minute of stoppage, and then was saved by Gazzaniga a minute later.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Top Premier League storylines for Week 6

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
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Six Premier League teams faced midweek European contests, with different degrees of success and effort expended by their stars.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Spurs and Man City lost, while Manchester United and Arsenal posted easy wins. Chelsea didn’t have its best finishing boots but won while resting Eden Hazard, and Liverpool won despite a rough night for its best player in Mohamed Salah.

How will that affect the sides when they face decided underdogs this weekend in England and Wales?

Slumping Spurs head south to stop the rot
Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC STREAM ]

Three-straight losses for Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino; Not something we’ve ready too often, or at all. But the Tottenham boss admits his slumping team could use a break that isn’t coming, especially in the case of Harry Kane. Brighton hasn’t taken it easy on anyone this season, but can be broken down and is coming off a pair of 2-2 ties. Goals at the Amex?

Chelsea returns from Greece for London Derby
West Ham United vs. Chelsea— 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN STREAM ]

Eden Hazard and David Luiz were able to rest while Alvaro Morata and Chelsea produced plenty of chances but only one goal at PAOK on Thursday. West Ham had some marvelous moments in attack in getting Manuel Pellegrini a much needed win against Everton last week, and won’t be thinking of anything other than a result when the Blues come back to England for Sunday morning’s kickoff.

Everton hopes to take advantage of weary Arsenal
Arsenal vs. Everton— 11 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN STREAM ]

Meanwhile, many of Arsenal’s stars rested or played subs roles in Thursday’s defeat of Vorskla Poltava. And the Gunners were home for that tilt, where they’ll remain for the visit of Marco Silva‘s Toffees. Everton gets Richarlison back from his red card suspension, and hopes that will help a season that went from “unbeaten in four” to “one win in five” with last week’s loss to West Ham.

Liverpool aims to stay perfect vs. rising Southampton
Liverpool vs. Southampton — 10 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN STREAM ]

The 5-0 Reds overcame a blown 2-0 lead against Paris Saint-Germain at midweek, and now will face a Saints side which will be missing its top striker (Danny Ings is ineligible due to Liverpool being his parent club). It’s a match that screams trap game, if only because it’s that hard to imagine Saints getting much from Anfield.

Portuguese bosses match wits at Old Trafford
Manchester United vs. Wolves — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Gold STREAM ]

Jose Mourinho’s men are playing well, with captain Paul Pogba almost certainly the best player on the pitch in a pair of recent wins over Young Boys and Watford. Enter Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are playing some attractive football under Mourinho’s countryman Nuno Espirito Santo. This one has the earmarks of a beauty, assuming Mourinho continues to play attack-minded football. Is that too much of an assumption, given the busy week for his Red Devils?

Harry Kane hits back at fitness concerns

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Harry Kane is a little sick and tired of you questioning his fitness. Okay?

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The Tottenham Hotspur striker failed to make a big impact (in fairness, so too did many of his teammate) in their 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters after that game and ahead of Spurs’ trip to face Inter Milan in their UEFA Champions League group stage opener on Tuesday, Kane hit back at claims he isn’t fully fit after his exploits at the World Cup for England this summer.

“People are always going to look for stuff, especially when you are a big part of the team and someone who is there to get the goals,” Kane said. “As a team we can all do better and as the striker you get spoken about more, but I feel sharp and fit and if I wasn’t the manager would not be picking me. He believes in me, I believe in myself and hopefully I can score a couple of goals on Tuesday and it will be put to bed.”

Kane scored twice in August for his first-ever goals in that calendar month in his career, but the goals don’t mask the signs of fatigue.

His overall displays seem sluggish, he isn’t dropping deeper and getting on the ball and he certainly isn’t having as many shots as he was at this time last season. His teammates are also struggling with fitness concerns but their talisman seems to be impacted by it more than most.

The 25-year-old seems to be running on empty early in the season and has been ever since his heroic display in the World Cup Round of 16 clash against Colombia when he led the line and held up the ball for England superbly. His six goals in the 2018 World Cup won him the Golden Boot but he has since admitted he should’ve scored more and his quite disappointed with his displays.

Kane is of course going to say he’s fit and sharp to perform right now but as we saw with Maurizio Sarri and his treatment of Eden Hazard (he didn’t start Chelsea’s opening two games of the season), Spurs could really do with giving Kane a rest. But after back-to-back defeats in the PL, can they do that anytime soon? The time to do it was against Newcastle and Fulham in the opening games of the season.

If Kane continues to show signs of fatigue and being below his usual high standards, Mauricio Pochettino will have a serious decision to make. The Argentine coach dismissed questions about Kane’s fitness after the Liverpool loss, but he’s kidding himself if he thinks Kane is as fresh as he was at this point in previous seasons.

Yet he isn’t the only worry. Most of Spurs’ regular starters played the entire World Cup tournament and others around Kane — Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier to name a few — also look in need of a long rest, while Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris have already picked up injuries.

Kane needs to be rested before he harms himself, and Spurs, long-term.

Stars and Duds from Spurs 1-2 Liverpool

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Tottenham Hotspur had almost nothing to offer aside from Lucas Moura, while it’s hard to find a criticism of Liverpool as the Reds cruised to a 2-0 win on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.

[ MORE: Recap | 3 things ]

Stars

Virgil Van Dijk — There are times I believe I could keep a clean sheet for Liverpool with the big Dutchman back there. He simply nullifies any cross that isn’t magical, and makes life significantly easier for his center back partner and accompanying fullback.

Sadio Mane As usual, the Senegalese attacker was a pace merchant who caused problems with dribbles and tricks, but on Saturday he also pulled the strings at times in leading the attack. Now should he have conceded a stoppage time penalty kick? Perhaps VAR would’ve moved Mane off our list.

Lucas Moura — If Spurs had a star, it was the Brazilian, who was one of the few players relativley unbothered by the absence of Dele.

Naby Keita — Missing on a 64th minute bid to make it 3-0 almost stopped us short of keeping his name on this list, but he made a first-half star intervention in his own box to keep Spurs from a dangerous chance.

Jurgen Klopp — Opinion alert: Liverpool is a more complete team against possession-oriented squads when Jordan Henderson isn’t included as a key piece. Sitting his captain just after Henderson signed a new contract was a brave and smart move.

Duds

Mauricio Pochettino — Before we lay out Tottenham’s individual player failures, it’s important to note that a few of them were inspired by decisions of Spurs management. Playing Harry Winks wide in place of the injured Dele Alli had the entire unit out of whack and stopped Winks from doing what might’ve helped battle Liverpool’s 4-3-3: actually clogging the middle. That said..

Harry Winks — Better once moved into the middle of the fray, but still gave the ball away cheaply at times. Not a good day even considering he was put in a poor position by Pochettino.

Harry Kane — We know Dele wasn’t out there and Eriksen was playing a bit deeper, but this was not a performance befitting one of the best strikers in the world.

Eric Dier — Just sloppy. Rarely can you fault Dier for effort, which makes it hard to fault him, but he didn’t have his A or B game in the locker today and it was not going to be enough against the Reds.