Nuno Espirito Santo was happy with Harry Kane’s display as a substitute in Tottenham’s 1-0 victory over Wolves on Sunday.
Dele Alli’s penalty – the midfielder’s first Premier League goal since March 2020 – proved decisive at Molineux as Nuno got one over on his former club.
Spurs talisman Kane, a transfer target for Manchester City, missed the opening two games of the season – a win over the champions and a defeat to Pacos de Ferreira in Europa Conference League qualifying – but returned to a rapturous welcome from the travelling support.
Kane came on in the 72nd minute, and perhaps showed just why Nuno has been reluctant to call on him so far, away from the transfer speculation.
It has been widely reported that Kane would like to join City, but the 28-year-old has also only had one week of training since returning from an extended break following Euro 2020.
Kane had 14 touches, attempted nine passes and had one shot during his time on the pitch – Jose Sa closing down a close-range effort from the England captain.
The opportunity, teed up brilliantly by Steven Bergwijn, had an expected goals (xG) estimation of 0.336, making it the second-best chance of the game from open play, after an attempt which Adama Traore drilled straight at Hugo Lloris at the other end.
While a fully firing Kane would no doubt have converted the opportunity, Nuno was nevertheless pleased with what the striker showed in his cameo.
“I think he did well. He helped the team. He had a good chance,” Nuno told a news conference.
“Harry is still in the process of increasing and improving his level of fitness, but because he’s one of the best players in the world you could see the way he helped the team in terms of possession and the fine lines. We need everybody, we need everybody.”
Asked if Kane would be involved on Thursday, in the home leg of Spurs’ tie with Pacos de Ferreira, Nuno replied: “I cannot answer that, it’s too soon.
“Now we are going to recover and prepare for the next one. Like we always do the same way and make the decisions that we should take.”
“It’s been a different role for me so far. A lot of working hard, defending and fighting for the team. It’s been a good start but I’ve got to keep improving!”
Our match-winner shares his thoughts on today’s win! pic.twitter.com/HVbk1kMEdS
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 22, 2021
While Kane made his comeback, it was Alli who was the difference. After an impressive showing against City last week, the midfielder coolly converted the ninth-minute spot-kick that he won.
Tottenham have now only lost one of their 45 Premier League games in which Alli has scored (W35 D9 L1), and Nuno hailed the 25-year-old’s performance.
“He’s working very hard. I think all the team is working hard,” Nuno said.
“We still have a long way to go and are working very hard to improve, the relationship between players and being very versatile enough.
“He scored in the beginning of the game and in the last minutes of the game he was running all over the pitch so that shows the level of fitness that he has and the belief that he has. A huge, huge help.”
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