Harry Kane confident of quick return, says Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane leaves the field with an ankle injury during the FA Cup quarter-final

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane leaves the field with an ankle injury during the FA Cup quarter-final clash with Millwall (pic: John Walton/PA Images) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Spurs boss says injury suffered by leading scorer may not be as bad as first feared

Mauricio Pochettino says Harry Kane is hopeful that he might only be out of action for three or four weeks.

The Tottenham striker suffered ankle ligament damage on his right foot for the second time this season against Millwall on Sunday – an injury that previously sidelined him for seven weeks and ruled him out of 10 matches between September and November.

However, the damage is not considered to be as severe this time – and Pochettino reports that Kane is optimistic he will spend less time in the treatment room this time.

“He’s very positive. He’s always joking about [coming back] after the international break or in three or four weeks,” said Pochettino.

“I don’t know. He’s very positive and that is good, but at the same time we need to be careful with his injury. We trust completely in our doctor and physios and the department, which looks after them in the best way.

“I only express the feeling and the way that we are doing on the training ground. “Don’t take [that timescale as fact] again, like it was with [Danny] Rose or [Erik] Lamela or different cases.

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“Don’t believe properly my word because you know maybe if it’s not four weeks then it’s five weeks or six weeks. The good thing is he’s very positive and if you’re positive in your mind you can effect your injury in a very positive way.”

Kane, Lamela and Rose will all be absent when Tottenham host Southampton on Sunday – and ex-Saints midfielder Victor Wanyama will be assessed in tomorrow’s final training session after hurting his neck against Millwall, as will Kyle Walker, who suffered a mystery injury at home.

“That is a private matter,” said Pochettino. “After the day off on Monday he arrived here on Tuesday with a problem in his ankle and he couldn’t train during the week.”

Regardless of how long Kane is absent, Tottenham now face the challenge of maintaining their push for a top-two finish without their star striker, who scored 15 goals in 13 games before his ill-fated outing against Millwall.

“We can only find solutions,” said Pochettino. “We have many players that can cope with that pressure. [We lost Harry] after seven minutes against Millwall and then we scored six goals – a hat-trick for [Heung-Min] Son, and then Vincent [Janssen] and Dele [Alli].

“We are very confident in our players and squad, and now it’s just trying not to make excuses and trying to perform well and score goals and win games. That is our challenge.

“The same period we had at the start of the season was difficult. We lost Harry for seven or eight weeks but one of the best performances was without Harry Kane – against Manchester City when we won 2-0 at home. It’s always about the team, about collective performance.

“We have good players who sometimes deserve to play, but because we pick different players…Today is a great opportunity for people like Vincent Janssen and Sonny to play more regularly in the starting XI. I think it’s a great chance for them.”

While Spurs beat City without Kane in October, they failed to win any of their following six matches in his absence.

“We hope things will be different - it was a different period, the team is different now,” said Pochettino. “We are finding our best. The team is more solid.

“We have improved a lot from that period. It was a very difficult pre-season after the Euros. Today is a completely different period, we are at a completely different level.”

Tottenham can focus on their top-flight campaign since they are no longer involved in Europe, having been eliminated from the Champions League in the group stage before Christmas and then fallen at the first hurdle in the Europa League last month, losing their last-32 tie against Belgian outfit Gent.

Leicester continue to dream about continental glory after reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but Pochettino insists he has no pangs of jealousy.

“No, I think that is a closed chapter,” he said. “I am more disappointed to be out of the Europa League. That I think hurt me more than the Champions League.”

Meanwhile, Pochettino has voiced his support for Premier League referees, asserting that they are better than their counterparts in other countries.

“To be referees is so difficult, it’s a very difficult job – worse than us, being a manager,” said Pochettino.

“Sometimes we become the referees during a training session. It’s so difficult to manage the players – all complain, all want the ball, they never make a foul.

“We need to recognise that their job is so difficult. Always they will have my support, and I’m happy with the way the Premier League is.

“Sometimes I watch different leagues around the world and wow, the tempo is so slow because the referees are putting so much pressure on the players. The minimum contact is a foul.

“When the game arrives at the 90th minute, like in Spain, it’s three minutes of injury time but maybe the ball stops for one minute and then, before the three minutes are up, the game is finished.

“But here’s it’s exciting. There are three minutes but sometimes, if you [waste time] or try to cheat, there are 30 seconds more, one minute more. I think it’s exciting, the football here, because of the referees too, and they are an important part of the excitement.

“Then we can say they are not perfect, that all will make mistakes, they are human. But it’s so difficult to take decisions in a very short space of time. They will always have my support, and I admire them.”

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