Steven Bergwijn

Harry Kane
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Spurs: Kane trains, but Bergwijn season in jeopardy

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The Tottenham Hotspur boss will find it hard to repress a smile knowing that star striker Harry Kane is back on the training pitch following a long injury absence.

But he’ll also be lamenting yet another injury to his attack corps.

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Kane hasn’t played since a New Year’s Day loss to Southampton led to hamstring surgery, but has 17 goals in 25 matches this season.

He’s missed eight Premier League matches, five FA Cup outings, and the first leg of Spurs’ Champions League Round of 16 tie with RB Leipzig.

Teammate Dele Alli is excited at the prospect of Kane’s return. From Football.London:

“It’s a massive boost. Even when he’s coming to games to have him speaking, he’s a leader. Having had hamstring injuries, I don’t want him to rush it, but I know we need him as well.”

However, there’s bad news for Spurs this Monday, as January signing Steven Bergwijn is facing some time on the sidelines.

Bergwijn suffered a “significant” ankle sprain against Burnley this weekend, the team announced, and faces “an extended period of rehabilitation.”

“I don’t expect him to play again this season,” Mourinho said.

That means Spurs will have to overturn its 1-0 first leg UCL deficit without Kane, Heung-Min Son, and Bergwijn. That’s a tall ask.

Jose Mourinho defends players ‘trying to do miracles,’ explains Dele move

Jose Mourinho
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Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho says he can have no complaints with his shorthanded men following a 2-1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho pointed to the absence of strikers Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane as well as a Champions League match in midweek.

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“Look at Chelsea they played a World Cup-winning striker up front, England’s second striker on the bench, and Belgium’s second striker in the stands,” he said, via Football.London. “We had no strikers on the pitch, no strikers on the bench and two in the hospital.”

Chelsea were the much better side on the day, with Olivier Giroud making a statement to Frank Lampard about his ability as a center forward.

And Mourinho felt sufficiently shorthanded on the day, especially given the exhausting 1-0 loss to RB Leipzig at midweek.

“Lucas, Lo Celso, Bergwijn,” he said. “These boys that are playing every minute and trying to do miracles in positions that are not their positions. I cannot complain.”

Mourinho also defended keeping Dele Alli on the bench for the first time in his tenure as Spurs boss.

“We had strange game plans but we needed to have them. Like Lamela who played well, people think I’m stupid that I don’t play him, but he’s constantly communicating with me in the warm-up, can I play or not. He was telling me his feelings.”

Spurs will finish the weekend four points back of the top four and as many as two back of fifth. They have eight days until another big match, March 1 versus Wolves.

Spurs prevail late in 5-goal thriller at Aston Villa

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Heung-Min Son completed his brace deep in stoppage time gave Tottenham Hotspur a 3-2 win over Pepe Reina and defiant Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday.

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Pepe Reina made six saves for Villa, who got goals from Bjorn Engels and a Toby Alderweireld own goal but couldn’t find a point and sit a point clear of the bottom three.

Alderweireld also scored his first Spurs goal in three years, as Spurs move into fifth place with 40 points. That’s one back of Chelsea, which plays Monday.

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to win ]

Three things we learned

1. Alderweireld, Engels find redemption: It seems like this happens more often than it should, and it happened twice Sunday when defenders cost their team goals and then made amends in their non-traditional third. First Alderweireld knocked in a Villa cross after a miscommunication with Hugo Lloris, only to rocket an equalizer home. Then Bjorn Engels conceded a penalty to Spurs before nodding a header home.

Just like match days when goals are either universally hard to find or going in all over Europe, this game has a way of showing its sense of humor.

2. Bergwijn, Davies light up the left: Aston Villa’s right side of the defense was troubled by a pair of “new” faces: Ben Davies returned at left back from a long injury lay-off and Stever Bergwijn is proving to be a wonderful January transfer.

3. Reina has a day to defy the score line.: Tottenham had four or five late chances to take all three points, but got it down with their final bid after an Engels giveaway. The ex-Barcelona and Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina make six saves on the day, and was loud in organizing the backline. Most of the time, Reina bailed them out when they failed to heed his notes.

Man of the Match: Grealish was very good, drawing a half-dozen fouls and producing plenty of danger, but it’s was between Reina and Bergwijn before Son’s heroics. Of course it’s the South Korean.

The first half-dozen minutes were rough-and-tumble, with physical and cynical fouls for both sides.

Villa claimed the lead in the ninth-minute when Pepe Reina sprung Anwar El Ghazi with a long pass and Alderweireld couldn’t deal with the Dutchman’s cross.

Dele Alli had a promising bid to level the score blocked within minutes, but Villa was also pressing for a second. Douglas Luiz came close to making it 2-0 in the 19th minute, but Ben Davies got a bit of it to concede a corner instead.

Harry Winks and Steven Bergwijn led a rush down the right. The latter crossed beautifully for Dele Alli, whose flying header went wide of the far post.

Spurs midfielder Eric Dier bailed out his backline when Grealish thought he had Mbwana Samatta cued up for a point-blank shot.

Alderweireld scored a beauty off a 27th-minute corner, wheeling to lash a shot over Pepe Reina.

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Dele beat the defense but stung a shot wide of the far post near the 35th minute, and Hugo Lloris made a fine parry on El Ghazi minutes later.

Ben Davies had a fantastic first half in his first start in 2.5 months after an ankle injury, working a 1-2 en route to a double block from the Villa backline before half.

VAR gave Spurs the chance to go ahead in first-half stoppage when Bjorn Engels cut down Bergwijn in the box. Reina’s saved Son’s silly spot kick, but the South Korean bundled the rebound with an outside-of-the-boot jab.

Lloris made a fine save in the 52nd minute, but the Spurs keeper saw the ball in his goal when Engels joined Alderweireld in redemption, nodding Grealish’s corner home.

Reina stopped a low drive from Bergwijn off a bad Villa giveaway, and Bergwijn had a 70th-minute shot deflected out for a corner. Reina then stopped Dele’s break in the 74th, and a Son drive 11 minutes later.

Then he stopped Son on the ensuing corner, but the South Korean was not to be denied on the day and grabbed his second goal at the very death.

Bergwijn keeps Tottenham’s Champions League hopes alive

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In one fell swoop, Steven Bergwijn showed why he could be the key to keeping Tottenham’s hopes alive in the UEFA Champions League, both this season and next.

After joining Tottenham from PSV Eindhoven in a $33 million transfer earlier this week, Bergwijn dazzled and delighted in his debut at the renovated White Hart Lane, scoring a goal on the half-volley as Spurs took out Man City, 2-0. With the win, Tottenham now sits just four points behind Chelsea and fourth place in the Premier League.

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More important than the win however was that the 22-year-old’s performance on Sunday showed exactly the kind of skills, ability, and work rate he brings to Tottenham. With Harry Kane out long term and Tottenham still searching for reliable attacking options who can score, you can do much worse than sign Bergwijn, who has lit up the Netherlands’ Eredivisie and Europe for the past three and a half seasons.

Bergwijn scored 14 goals in the Eredivisie last season, and after playing for the Netherlands National Team and in the Champions League for PSV, he’s battle tested against the best teams and players in Europe. With crunch Premier League matches coming in the weeks ahead, Tottenham will have to rely on Bergwijn to create goal-scoring chances and even score a few from his wide position to make up the four-point distance between them and the final Champions League place. In addition, he’ll be eligible to play for Spurs in the Champions League this season, including matches against Bundesliga front-runners RB Leipzig.

Spurs will also have to hope that Bergwijn doesn’t need much time to fully adjust to the pace and physicality of the Premier League. Based on Sunday’s performance, it looks like he’s ready to go.

Spurs have “eye on fourth” after big win

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Steven Bergwijn, take a bow.

Dominated Tottenham Hotspur saw their fortunes take a major turn after a second-half red card, as debutant Steven Bergwijn scored a thrilling goal en route to a 2-0 defeat of Man City on Sunday.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was very happy with his team, who climbed fifth in the table and is back within shouting distance of the top four.

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And he loved his new playmaker’s goal.

“It’s the best way to come to a club,” Mourinho said. “We were not putting any kind of pressure on him but we signed him early in the week and he had the whole week to train, to speak, to learn the way we wanted him to play. Very intelligent kid, very open, very humble and of course it’s at home against the champions, scoring a winning goal. And on top of that, not a normal goal, a really classy goal. Couldn’t be happier for him.”

Mourinho said the win is “big” for the club, citing draws for Manchester United, Wolves, and Chelsea as clubs look to seize the final Champions League place.

“Big, especially with a few draws of people in the same area of the table where we are, it was very important to get points,” Mourinho said, via the BBC. “We’re in fifth, still with an eye on fourth.”

The intensity of the match was ever-present, and it wasn’t a surprise when Mourinho and his staff were livid following a tackle of Dele Alli by Raheem Sterling which could’ve easily been a red card.

Mike Dean didn’t think so, and the decision went to VAR overseer Kevin Friend.

“Only Mr. Kevin Friend can explain why it was not a red card. He’s in front of the screen and has a chance to watch and watch and watch again, which he did on the penalty. Of course that decision would change the game, probably would not be such an enjoyable game because one team would play more for an hour. I think it’s a clear red card.”

VAR wasn’t Spurs’ friend on the day, and Mourinho told Sky Sports it was “God’s will” that Lloris stopped Ilkay Gundogan‘s penalty following a controversial call against Serge Aurier.

Tottenham hosts Southampton on Wednesday in an FA Cup replay and then is off until a Feb. 16 visit to Aston Villa.

Then comes a run of three huge matches, as Spurs will host Leipzig in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 before league bouts with fourth-place Chelsea and eighth-place Wolves.