Harry Kane rues missed opportunity after Tottenham’s derby defeat at West Ham

Harry Kane is ruing an “opportunity missed” after Tottenham squandered the chance to go top of the Premier League in last night’s derby defeat at West Ham.

A victory would have taken Spurs above leaders Leicester City on goal difference. However, they fell behind after just seven minutes as Michail Antonio headed home from a corner, and then mustered just two shots on target to go down 1-0 on their last visit to Upton Park.

“It was an opportunity missed,” said Kane, who played in a protective mask again after recently breaking his nose. “It was a disappointing result but a disappointing performance as well. I don’t think we ever got going from the beginning of the game. We gave away too many cheap balls and we paid the price.

“We want to be as high in the league as possible but the Premier League is a tough league. There are no easy games and this was definitely not going to be easy, so we’re disappointed but there’s nothing we can do about it now. We have to move on as quickly as we can.

“Was the pitch a factor? Yes but it’s no excuse. We’ve played on worse and other teams have to play on it as well.

“We just weren’t good enough on the ball, probably. We got punished early on from a set piece and we didn’t really create too much.

“We’re disappointed for the fans. It’s a local derby, we know what it means to them and it means a lot to us as well so we’re disappointed that they’ve gone home on the losing side.

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“But it’s another big game on Saturday [against Arsenal] and I’m sure they’ll be right behind us again at home and trying to push us to get the three points.”

Asked if the potential reward of claiming pole position in the Premier League table affected Spurs’ players in east London, Kane replied: “No I don’t think so, there’s still so long left in the league. We’re just staying focused.

“Everyone else is talking about [us] going top and winning the league and we’re just trying to take it game by game.

“We just weren’t good enough, that’s the only way we can put it. We have to be better than that but we’ve got important games coming up so the quicker we can put it behind us the better.”

The good news for Tottenham is that the two sides immediately below them in the title race, Arsenal and Manchester City, were also defeated last night – although Kane admits even that consolation is tinged with some regret.

“Them two losing doesn’t really change a lot [in the table] - but again it’s a chance where, if we’d won, we could have gone even further ahead, so you can look at it both ways,” said the striker. “We’re just focused on ourselves and what we need to do, and that starts on Saturday.

“It [the clash with Arsenal] is very tough – it’s another big derby for us but we’re looking forward to it. We’ve been good at home in recent times so we’ve got to keep playing the way we are and try to get three points.

“I’ve said before, we feel we can beat anyone in the league on our day when we’re playing well, so we’ve just got to go out there and put in a performance that’s better than this one, and we can definitely beat Arsenal.”

Kane brushed aside suggestions that Spurs’ high-energy style might now be catching up with them in the final third of the season, insisting the squad has the energy to finish the campaign strongly.

“I think we do, “he said. “It’s a tough league but we’re probably one of the fittest [sides] in the league so if anyone can cope with it, we can.

“We probably didn’t do it great this time. West Ham played a longer ball and we couldn’t get the second balls and got punished for it, but we’re a fit squad and we’ve got plenty of energy.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs