Mauricio Pochettino is happy to welcome back striker Harry Kane from “the dark side” of football as Tottenham prepare to face Aston Villa in the Premier League on Monday.
Kane ended a run of just one goal in 13 appearances with a hat-trick in last weekend’s 5-1 thrashing of AFC Bournemouth – a result which moved Spurs to within three points of the top four.
Pochettino believes Kane will learn from his barren spell but is delighted to have seen the England international battle through to rediscover his goalscoring touch.
“It’s a period that was new for him but it was important for him to experience the other side of football,” said the Spurs manager.
“When you are a striker and you are scoring goals, everything is nice and the sun is always shining – but when you stop scoring, everything is always dark.
“When things in football are good or bad, it is important to keep working hard and that was the key for him to start scoring again.”
Villa visit White Hart Lane having sacked former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood following their 2-1 defeat to Swansea City last time out.
Kevin MacDonald is in temporary charge of the first team as Villa pursue a long-term replacement, with former Lyon boss Remi Garde widely reported to be their first choice.
MacDonald is not concerned by whether Garde will be in north London to watch Monday’s game, however, as he aims to deliver a result which could lift Villa off the bottom of the Premier League table and restore some confidence to the players.
“Players do worry about where they are. There is no divine right to stay in the Premier League. We start again. This is our first game of the season,” he said.
“The pride of the players is hurt because we’re bottom of the league. But they are determined.
“I have been told that I need to prepare the team for Monday. Whether Remi will be in position in the stand to watch, I don’t know.”
Spurs have no new injury concerns ahead of the game, meaning Son Heung-min (foot), Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli (both ankle) and Federico Fazio (hamstring) are expected to miss out.
Villa could welcome back Joleon Lescott from a knock but Micah Richards could be suspended after accepting a charge of misconduct from the Football Association following an incident in the tunnel against Swansea. Craig Gardner (ankle) is a doubt.
Key Opta stats:
– Tottenham have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League games against Aston Villa (W9 D3), although that defeat came last time out (0-1 at home in April 2015).
– At White Hart Lane, Villa have enjoyed just one win in their last six league games, losing four and drawing one.
– The Villans have bagged a total of just two goals on their last six league trips to White Hart Lane.
– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last nine PL games (W4 D5) and remain the only side unbeaten since the opening matchday (when they lost to Manchester United).
– The Villans are enduring the longest current losing streak of any Premier League side, failing to pick up a single point in their last six games.
– Harry Kane scored with three of his four shots against Bournemouth, having netted with just one of his previous 32 shots (incl. blocked) in the competition in 2015-16.