Football

Jose Mourinho issues four-minute riposte after Paul Merson claims Harry Kane could leave Tottenham



Jose Mourinho launched into an extraordinary four-and-a-half-minute prepared response to Paul Merson on Monday after the pundit claimed Harry Kane would struggle to score 25 goals a season under the Tottenham Hotspur manager.

Kane made his first appearance since January during Spurs’ 1-1 draw with Manchester United last Friday, having recovered from a torn hamstring during the enforced break, but appeared sluggish and failed to register a single shot from open play.

Merson subsequently questioned whether Kane will want to continue playing under Mourinho and suggested that the England captain will have a “serious think at the end of the season” about his future.


In a pre-written riposte, Mourinho listed the names of strikers who’ve flourished under him previously, such as Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Diego Milito, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and their individual goal records.

“I feel a bit strange [about] some analysis and some comments,” Mourinho said. “Especially because it looks for me that the beginning of some comments and analysis, they started from Paul. I have to say I respect a lot people like him and because I respect a lot, I want to be nice in my answer.

Jose Mourinho issued a four-and-a-half-minute response to Paul Merson (Getty)

“I don’t think he is ready for a bad answer. So I try to be nice. And I try just to say something where people can think a little bit. First of all, Harry played his first game for six months and if you watch and analyse the game, compare Harry Kane with Anthony Martial.

“It wasn’t a game of many chances, where the two strikers had a lot of chances. Do you give credit to my defence for Martial’s game, do you give credit to United’s defence to the occasions that we didn’t create? You have to look at it in a balanced approach.

“In our case, Harry doesn’t play a game for six months. The record of goals that Harry has with me is easy for you, you just go to your data and it is easy to see how many matches Harry played with me and how many goals he scored. For you not to lose time, I can say that I had a few strikers who played for me and they are not bad. I had one guy called Drogba. He played for me four seasons, he scored 186 goals which gives an average of 46 goals per season.

“I had one guy who is not also bad. Plays for Juventus now. He played for me for three seasons. He scored 168 goals which gives an average of 56 goals per season.

“I had another guy that is also not bad, called Karim Benzema. He played for me three seasons. He was not always starting because he was quite young at the time. He scored for me 78 goals in three seasons, which gives a 26 goal average per season.

“I had another one called Milito. He played one season for me, he scored 30 goals, he won three titles. Of course, the average is 30. I had another guy who played for me for one-and-a-half seasons. I say that because in the other half he had a big injury.

“Tall guy called Zlatan. He played for me for one-and-a-half seasons, he scored 58 goals which gives a 29-goal average per season.”

He finished: “So dear Paul, I have lots of respect for you. I think Harry Kane has no problem at all to score goals in my teams, especially when he’s fit and fresh and has routines of playing. That’s my message to somebody I have lots of respect for.”

Tottenham face relegation-threatened West Ham on Tuesday evening, with Spurs trailing fourth-placed Chelsea by nine points heading into the fixture.

“Lucas is back from injury, Dele Alli is back from punishment and no injuries coming from the game against United,” Mourinho said.

“We didn’t lose any players and we have two extra players and that makes our squad really, really good.

“It is the first time I have all the six attacking players for the game.”



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