Harry Kane: Spurs can show their top-four credentials against Arsenal in north London derby

Harry Kane says Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal gives Tottenham a golden opportunity to show their top-four credentials after the Lilywhites closed in on the Champions League spots last night.

Monday’s 3-1 home win over basement boys Aston Villa took Spurs above West Ham into fifth place, and they now lie just one point behind fourth-placed Manchester United.

While Tottenham’s immediate focus is on Thursday’s Europa League group game against Belgian outfit Anderlecht at White Hart Lane, Kane says he and his team-mates will be eager to maintain their momentum in the Premier League when they travel to face arch-rivals Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday.

“Anderlecht is important for us so we have got to stay focused on that for now, but everyone’s excited for the north London derby, of course,” he said. “It’s a game that everyone looks forward to. Both teams are playing well so it will be good to try and get a result.

“We made a good statement against Manchester City and we followed that up pretty well with wins, so we go and face Arsenal on Sunday going for the win. We’re full of confidence and we know we can win so we have got to go there and do it.

“The aim [is] the top four, but there’s still a long way to go. We have to stay consistent throughout the whole season - we can’t just have a good start and then fade away.

“We’ve got a tough Christmas period so we’ve got to keep our energy high and keep our recovery good and just stay consistent and confident, and keep trying to get as many results as possible.”

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Tottenham were comfortably 2-0 up at half-time against Villa on Monday after goals from Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli, but a sloppy period allowed the visitors to halve the deficit 11 minutes from time as Jordan Ayew’s shot deflected in off Jan Vertonghen.

That set up a needlessly tense finish at the Lane but Kane finished off a break in injury-time to put Spurs out of sight.

“It was a very good first half from us, we played very well for the two goals and we said at half-time that we wanted to kick on and get the third and the fourth,” said Kane. “Unfortunately we didn’t do that so that was disappointing, but credit to Villa - they hung in the game, got their goal and made it tough for us in that last 15 minutes so I was delighted to finish it off at the end.

“We knew we had to put the game to bed, otherwise they would keep fighting. For one reason or another it didn’t work out but that’s stuff we’ve got to learn. We’re a young team, we can go back and look at the game and see what we could have done better and go from there.

“We’re playing very well, we’re excited, we’re a young team and we’ve got a lot of energy - and the wins will keep giving us that [momentum].”

Having only scored once in his first 13 games of the season for Tottenham, Kane has now struck four times in his last two matches, following his hat-trick at Bournemouth.

“I’ve been playing well, it’s five in my last five Premier League games now,” said the striker. “I’ve had to be patient. Again last night, I had to wait until the 93rd minute to get a good chance and I was able to put it away.

“I’m ahead of where I was last season [for league goals] so I have to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Alli enhanced his burgeoning reputation as he struck his second goal of the season against Villa – and Kane can see similarities with the focus that he was given in his phenomenal breakthrough season last term.

“He’s a great player and a great lad as well,” said Kane. “He’s very focused, he’s a good lad to have around the dressing room and he’s a bubbly character. We’re delighted for him

“He’s come in this season and settled in straight away. He’s still young and still has a lot to learn and a long way to go, but he’s doing all the right things.

“I was probably in that position last year so it’s great for him to have me and other players who have been through that to talk to - but he’s a mature lad and I’m sure he will take it in his stride.

“We have discussions now and then. He says he watched [my progress] last season and he wants to go and do the same. He’s a young player with a lot of talent, he just wants to play football and that’s nice to see. He plays with a smile on his face and he’s a great character.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs