Between the words of José Mourinho and the fact that Harry Kane stayed back in north London, there is no doubt Tottenham are still focused on finishing top four. This is not to say winning the Europa League is not still a very serious objective and avenue to the Champions League. However, any thought that Spurs are out of the top four face yet in the league has not entered the Tottenham camp.
Kane and Tottenham are Learning
We did not get Carlos Vinicius for the 90 minutes many would have liked but Tottenham also got a huge zero minutes for one Harry Kane. After returning quicker than expected from injury and playing 247 minutes across three matches Harry Kane getting a break was a very good idea.
Kane want to give it a go against a very good Everton team last week to try and stay alive in a winner advances match in the FA Cup makes sense. Kane being risked in a two-legged affair where Spurs are playing inferior competition and still have a home game did not make sense. Harry Kane getting that time off from both the field and the travel is good for his body and is thus good for the team.
It is important for Kane to get rested when possible and the team to continue to grow and win without him because it is clearly necessary at times. Bottom line, if Kane can sit by choice and Spurs win, it is a bonus all around for the side.
Playing well in Europe is a path to time in League
Thursday evening saw the return to the team and the starting line-up of both Dele Alli and Gareth Bale. While Bale left with the big numbers in a goal and an assist, both players acquitted themselves well in the situation and could argue for more time.
Gareth Bale was near flawless – although we’d all like to see more touches total for the Welshman. Bale completed all of his passes, showed burst on the dribble, and of course assisted and scored. José Mourinho noted after the match that it was possible for Gareth Bale to play against West Ham – if his condition allows – which is why he came off shortly after the hour.
Dele Alli popped up in some good places and made several key passes. 2owever, he was far from perfect being dispossessed a match high 7 times on the night. Not always his fault as Dele goes for 50/50 stuff, Dele still needs to be sharper overall. Alli did manage three shots and show he still has that ability to run in with impeccable timing. While more likely to come off the bench Sunday than start like Gareth, Dele is still in the picture after Thursday.
Mourinho wants to play them all
José Mourinho has been relatively consistent when talking about whether or not Spurs are still in it for the top four. While he has not conceded first, it is not something people talk about – and rightfully so. However, top four is still a possibility with the lack of any real consistency from anyone not coached by Pep Guardiola really anywhere on the continent.
Essentially, Mourinho’s refrain has been to play all the games and after the last match, we will see what we see and it will be what it will be. Mourinho acknowledge Spurs could finish outside the top six, in the top six or even in the top four, “so anything can happen”. While it makes sense from a coaches perspective not to speculate on the league positions at this point, it is clearly something of great interest to the fans.
Seeing Kane stay home, seeing some lost talent reintegrated, and hearing the words of the coach himself tell us that this team is not done in Premier League and top four is still the target, which is good to know.