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Football

José Mourinho hails 'fundamental' Harry Kane as Moyes hits out at VAR


José Mourinho emphasised that Harry Kane is “fundamental” to his Tottenham side after watching the England striker score his first Premier League goal of 2020 in the 2-0 home win against struggling West Ham.

Kane’s return to fitness follow a six-month injury lay off has proved timely with his 82nd-minute contribution not only helping Mourinho’s side secure a first win in eight games but reviving their European hopes which had flagged before football’s shutdown.

“I said before the game I wouldn’t be surprised if Harry scored,” said a delighted Mourinho. “He’s fundamental for the team, so tonight was very good for Harry and even better for us.”

Tottenham rise to seventh – a point behind Manchester United in fifth, and six in arrears of fourth-placed Chelsea. “To win tonight was crucial,” said Mourinho. “It was three points or nothing. If we had not won tonight I don’t think we could have thought about Europe.”

Kane registered his 137th top-tier goal on his 200th Premier League appearance and the striker said he felt close to peak fitness. “I feel as fit as I’ve probably ever done before, “he said. “I’m in good shape. Scoring is one of the best feelings in the world, and it’s been a while since I’ve done it, so it’s great to do that.”

West Ham’s relegation fears intensified. David Moyes’s side were left 17th, level on points with third bottom Bournemouth and out of the relegation zone only on goal difference. They have lost both their games since emerging from lockdown but Moyes hailed an improved performance and rued bad luck. This involved both Jarrod Bowen hitting a post and the failure of VAR to intervene in Tomas Soucek’s opening own goal which gave Spurs a 64th-minute lead.

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Replays suggested it should have been ruled out after the ball brushed Davinson Sánchez’s arm and Moyes was unhappy. “I don’t believe the first goal should have stood,” said West Ham’s manager. “There was a handball, it wasn’t a goal. I can’t believe they allowed that to stand. Who was on VAR tonight?’

Moyes was also aggrieved that the Premier League had not allowed the game to be played later this week, thereby affording his team an extra day’s recovery following Saturday’s defeat at home to Wolves. “It was a terrible decision by the Premier League and I’m disappointed the broadcasters couldn’t have helped,” he said.

Mourinho, whose side drew with Manchester United on Friday, sympathised, agreeing it was harsh on West Ham that Spurs had an extra day to prepare.



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