Harry Kane, Jose Mourinho and top four - what does Spurs future hold?
- Credit: PA
In what has been arguably the toughest week under Jose Mourinho’s stewardship at Tottenham Hotspur, a 2-0 victory over fellow European hopefuls Aston Villa was the only acceptable reaction.
A loss in the North London Derby put Spurs at a low due to the manner of the defeat and what it meant for hopes of finishing in the top four.
The Europa League tie, in which they had a two-goal lead, was meant to be where they showed a reaction to their lacklustre display.
In reality, matters went from bad to worse for Tottenham. An inspired Dinamo Zagreb completed an incredible comeback after extra-time, thanks to a hat-trick from man-of-the-moment Mislav Orsic.
Perhaps one of the most embarrassing European results in recent years for both Spurs and Mourinho, it was crucial they moved on from it and claimed all three points against Villa.
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Carlos Vinicius’s first Premier League goal and a Harry Kane penalty were enough for the Lilywhites as they closed the gap with fourth place to just three points.
With Champions League qualification still a realistic possibility, failure to progress in the Europa League may not be as costly as it could have been. However, Mourinho is desperate for a trophy and defeat to Zagreb was a blow.
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He came under intense scrutiny following the result on Thursday night, with the pressure growing with every loss as the frustration at their inconsistency is clear to see.
Maybe an issue more pressing than the future of Jose Mourinho is that of Harry Kane, one of the best players in the world this season.
Following the Europa exit, reports emerged from David Ornstein that Kane wants out in the summer window. Despite his being midway through a six-year-contract, for the right fee Spurs may be resigned to losing him in what should be his prime years.
This further emphasises the importance of silverware for the club.
With the Carabao Cup Final in April and a spot in the Champions League places still up for grabs, they could be central to convincing Kane his future remains in north London.