Belfast Telegraph

Kane gets Tottenham back on track after Poch's rallying call

Fulham 0 - Tottenham 3

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Mauricio Pochettino said that team meetings with his Tottenham players after two straight defeats helped to turn the side around for yesterday's 3-0 FA Cup defeat of Fulham.

Spurs lost 2-0 at Anfield last Saturday and 1-0 at KAA Gent on Thursday evening - two results that threatened to derail the season. But Pochettino revealed in the aftermath of this win that he spoke to the players on Friday and Saturday, reminding them of their responsibilities, which produced exactly the result he wanted.

"After Gent we had a few meetings [with the players] and the reaction was fantastic," Pochettino said. "I am very pleased. Now we'll try and keep that feeling for Thursday."

Pochettino admitted late on Thursday night that Spurs had entered a "bad period" after those two defeats, and so he was delighted to show that his team was still "alive", just when it looked like their season was at risk of petering out.

"It was a great opportunity today to show that we are alive, and end that bad feeling after two defeats," Pochettino said. "To change and prepare for the Europa League. We have another 'final' at Wembley on Thursday and we'll need to feel fresh, and to bring some confidence back. That was important today."

The Spurs squad had hoped to atone for their Liverpool defeat in Gent, but it did not happen, so Pochettino was delighted they managed to respond yesterday. "After two defeats, in football, that feeling when you lose is so difficult," he said.

"All the players wanted to play and take the responsibility on today in a very difficult stadium, against a very difficult team. After 3-0 it looks as if it was easy, but that was because we took the game on in a very good way. We played as we need to play in every game."

Kane, meanwhile, feared he was going to be denied a hat-trick by being substituted with just two goals to his name.

The England international thought his chance to complete the treble was up when he skied a shot after 70 minutes, with manager Pochettino seemingly preparing to make a change in the dugout.

However, Kane remained on the pitch and wrapped up the scoring just three minutes later. He was then taken off moments later to rapturous applause from the travelling fans.

"I thought he (Pochettino) was going to take me off soon," Kane said. "When I put it over the bar I thought that was going to be the last chance I was going to have, but luckily I managed to sneak it (the hat-trick) in before I was taken off."

Kane had few complaints about the team's overall performance either: "Winning games gives you confidence. We go into Thursday now coming off this result, we'll be buzzing to go at Wembley, so we're looking forward to it.

"It's never easy in the FA Cup - we had to make sure we came here and did our job and we've done that."

Slavisa Jokanovic paid full credit to Spurs for coming to Fulham with a full-strength team and overpowering them. "All the credit to Spurs," he said.

"They passed the ball easily and had so much energy. They put us under their control for 85% of the game, so the result is fair."

Spurs' reward is a home draw in the quarter-finals against Division One side Millwall.

FULHAM: Bettinelli, Odoi, Ream, Kalas, Malone, Cairney, Johansen, McDonald (Parker, 74 mins), Aluko (Cyriac, 66 mins), Ayite (Sessegnon, 57 mins), Kebano. Unused subs: Button, Madl, Piazon, Martin.

TOTTENHAM: Vorm, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Winks (Dembele, 79 mins), Eriksen, Dele (Onomah, 86 mins), Son, Kane (Sissoko, 75 mins). Unused subs: Pau Lopez, Carter-Vickers, Wimmer, Janssen.

Referee: Robert Madley

Man of the match: Harry Kane

Match rating: 7/10


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