EPL

Hat-trick hero Kane says now is the time for Tottenham to stick together

By Sports Desk September 30, 2021

Harry Kane insisted now is the time for Tottenham to rally behind Nuno Espirito Santo and get their Premier League season back on track. 

The England striker came off the bench to score a hat-trick and lead his side to a 5-1 win over Mura in the Europa Conference League on Thursday. 

Kane became the first Spurs player to score a hat-trick as a substitute since Ronny Rosenthal in the FA Cup back in 1995, while he is only the third man to hit three goals in a game in three separate major UEFA club competitions. 

Spurs fans will hope he can continue that form against Aston Villa on Sunday, Kane having failed to find the net in any of his first five Premier League appearances in 2021-22. 

With pressure mounting on head coach Nuno after three consecutive league losses and nine goals conceded, Kane said the Villa game will be key to turning around their fortunes. 

"Us as players and staff need to stick together and work hard," he told BT Sport. "Our recent form has not been great, but we need to try to turn it around next game. 

"Every striker wants to score goals. I probably wasn't expecting to come on today, but it's nice to get the minutes. Whenever you see the ball hit the back of the net it's a good feeling. Hopefully, we can take it into the weekend." 

Spurs were 2-0 up after only eight minutes but Nuno opted to bring on Kane, Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura after Ziga Kous scored a stunning volley for Mura early in the second half. 

"We started the game really well, went two ahead, but we lost our way a little bit. They scored a great goal," said Kane. 

"We made it harder than we needed to. The momentum shifted in their favour. It was about coming on and doing a job for the team." 

Nuno himself was happy enough with his side's performance, saying: "We started very well, our dynamic was good. 

"The beginning of the second half, they scored. After that, we played good. A good game. 

"It [the triple substitution] was needed. The best way to prepare the players is to play. The minutes were important for the boys. 

"[There were] a lot of positives." 

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    He returned as a late substitute in the weekend draw with former club Manchester United, and could start against Watford on Wednesday.

    Tuchel has no doubt of the quality that Lukaku will contribute to the Blues' cause when fully back up to speed.

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    "I think it's a process of adapting in both ways; the team will adapt to him and he will adapt to the team.

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    The defender, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season, has made 13 appearances for the Blues in all competitions this term.

    "We think we can have good news about Andreas," Tuchel added. 

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    But the head coach insists that for now, patience with the 28-year-old is a virtue.

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    Liverpool have two reunions with fan favourites coming up in the space of 10 days.

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    However, Ancelotti oversaw Everton's first derby victory since October 2010 when the Toffees beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield in February, ending a winless run at that ground stretching back to September 1999.

    That win at an empty Anfield inflicted a fourth successive home league defeat on Liverpool for the first time since 1923 and left the Merseyside rivals level in the race for Champions League qualification.

    Since then, Everton have won just nine of their 27 Premier League outings, losing 11, with Liverpool winning 17 of 26, only suffering three defeats. The Reds have scored 62 goals, 36 more than their city rivals, while only Chelsea's defence is stingier of sides to have been in the top tier for the entirety of that timeframe.

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    Benitez will be the sixth Everton boss Klopp has faced, and the German holds an impressive record over his Liverpool predecessor, winning four of seven meetings, losing just once, when Napoli beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the 2013-14 Champions League group stage.

    Liverpool also won their last three league games against Benitez's Newcastle by an aggregate score of 9-2. 

    This game will take Klopp onto the same amount of Merseyside derbies that Benitez managed as Liverpool boss. The former Real Madrid coach oversaw 14 meetings with David Moyes' Everton, winning eight and losing only three times. The Toffees' failures in this fixture have not been limited to the past decade.

    Across the last seven matches, Benitez's team rank 17th for possession (39.5 per cent), joint-18th for shots on target (21) and joint-20th for goals (four), albeit they have underperformed their expected goals (xG) value (7.58) – the absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin has not helped this.

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    With the pair playing, Everton have won three of six league games, averaging 1.8 goals for and 1.3 goals against, picking up 1.8 points per game. Without at least one of them, Everton have won just one of seven and averaged 1.7 goals against and 0.7 goals for. Their points per game drops to 0.6.

    Liverpool's last league win over Everton came on December 4, 2019, a 5-2 thrashing at Anfield marking the end of Marco Silva's tenure.

    Eight of Liverpool's last nine top-tier trips to Goodison have finished level but, unless Benitez can pull off an unexpected result, his fate may be similar. 

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