Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen: Having someone like Harry Kane makes it easier for the rest of us
PUBLISHED: 12:30 06 March 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Spurs playmaker praises striker after double against Everton
Christian Eriksen says Harry Kane’s clinical opening goals have been key factors in Tottenham Hotspur’s latest victories.
The Spurs striker has broken the deadlock in seven Premier League games this season, including the last two against Stoke City and Everton.
Ronald Koeman’s Toffees adopted a cautious set-up at White Hart Lane yesterday, using three defensive midfielders – and Mauricio Pochettino’s side initially struggled to find a way through.
But Kane - who had scored a 14th-minute opener the previous weekend against Stoke - produced another moment of magic by beating Joel Robles from 25 yards in the 20th minute.
He then went on to double his tally in the second half en route to a 3-2 victory as Spurs established a new club record by securing their ninth successive home win in the Premier League.
Eriksen said: “Of course you always want a striker to make it easier for the rest of the team and that’s really been the case here and against Stoke – first chance, first goal.
“That makes it a bit more helpful for the rest of the team. We don’t need to go forward, Everton need to go forward to come back. It gives us a bit more rest to control the game a bit more.
“There were a lot of midfielders on the pitch, it was very crowded. We saw their line-up and thought ‘this will be one big counter, a long ball to [Romelu] Lukaku and try to get the second ball’. That’s what they tried. We tried to do our thing and it’s only a good thing if teams are scared to come here.
“We heard afterwards [about the winning record at home] and it’s very good.”
Tottenham remain second in the table as they attempt to secure a top-two finish, which they narrowly failed to achieve last season after dropping into third place on the final day.
Eriksen feels that experience was useful, saying: “It means a lot that we tried and that we know how it feels. We don’t want to have to feel like that again.
“We know how we want to feel and we know what we need to do to be up there near the top of the league. We are in the same position as we were last season, we just need to show we are better now than then. I feel we are.”
Kane also hopes Spurs will be able to improve on last season’s third-place finish, but he said: “It’s hard to talk and say we are [better] because we’ve got to show we are.
“We were disappointed last year, as we all know. We’re in a good position now, trying to catch Chelsea, but it’s important we build a gap between the teams around us as well, and with Man United and Arsenal dropping points it was important we capitalised [against Everton].”
Tottenham closed in on Chelsea yesterday, narrowing the gap to seven points. However, the league leaders can restore their 10-point cushion this evening when they visit West Ham – and that leaves Kane in the unusual position of cheering on the Hammers.
“I am,” he admitted. “We don’t normally say that here. But of course we want West Ham to win because we want to catch Chelsea and we want them to drop points.
“But we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves, build a gap on the teams around us and if Chelsea drop points then great, and if they don’t then we’ll be second or third.”
While Spurs remain outsiders for the Premier League title, Kane finds himself at the top of a different table, having taken the outright lead in the race for the golden boot.
The 23-year-old’s brace on Sunday took him to 19 top-flight goals, leaving him one ahead of Everton’s Lukaku, who scored in his side’s defeat at the Lane but could not match Kane’s double.
Much of the build-up before the match focused on the head-to-head showdown between the two strikers, and the Tottenham forward said: “I saw it on social media and stuff but I don’t think you can compare us.
“We’re two different players, we’re both doing well at the moment and he scored again too. The most important thing was the team and it was important that we won.”
Meanwhile, Kane offered words of encouragement to reserve striker Vincent Janssen, who has struggled to get game time recently but came off the bench late on against Everton and won the free kick which resulted in Dele Alli’s injury-time goal.
“He’s just got to do what he did this time, even though it might have only been three or four minutes at the end,” said Kane.
“He held the ball up, won free kicks and saw the game out for us and that’s what he’s got to do every time he gets an opportunity. He has to try to impress no matter how many minutes it is.
“I was the same, I tried to do as much as I could in that time. He’s important – we’re a team, we’re a squad, every man’s important.”