Jose Mourinho believes Harry Kane is settled with his new role at Tottenham Hotspur, seven months after considering his future at the club.
Kane, 27, revealed in lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic he would look at options to improve his chances of winning trophies, but now feels Spurs can compete for “something special” this season.
Mourinho has played him in more of a No 10 role, dropping deep and affecting play like Dennis Bergkamp or Francesco Totti after years of comparisons to Alan Shearer as a traditional frontman. The Portuguese coach says it is part of his squad maturing as a team.
“The way the team plays and wants to play, I think he feels very comfortable and it is a very good way for him to play because he is good in the box but he is also magnificent outside the box,” said Mourinho.
“When you want to win, you do everything for your team. There is no space for individuals, there is no space for prima donnas. Even a top player like Harry has a fantastic spirit.”
Mourinho’s plan to use Kane differently was hatched early in his reign at Spurs, which will see him celebrate his one-year anniversary next month. The tactic relies on Heung-min Son and another winger, usually Lucas Moura so far, pushing forward when Kane gets on the ball.
Eventually, Gareth Bale is expected to come into the team to support Kane with these forward runs which have led to the England captain providing eight assists this season, double the amount of his nearest rival John McGinn.
“When the gaffer came in it was something he said quite early on, whenever I drop deep the wingers have to run in behind,” Kane said. “There is no point in two or three players dropping as it gives us no space.
“It's something I've been doing in my game for a while but we're just seeing the final product a bit more. The passes are a little bit better, the finishes are better and it catches the eye a bit more.”
Spurs’ win at Burnley on Monday evening has seen predictions of them mounting a title challenge. Kane and Son are the most productive partnership in the Premier League and there is back-up on the bench in the form of Bale and Carlos Vinicius, while Dele Alli is looking to fight his way back into the first-team plans.
Son, the Premier League’s top scorer, says Spurs are learning to win in different ways and their team spirit is like a family, after recovering from the devastation of losing a three-goal lead against West Ham United.
“In the West Ham game we played amazingly and drew, and it felt like we lost the game,” he said. “We fought to the end against Burnley which was a really good example. It was Monday night, it was freezing, it was raining. It will give us a little boost in our mentality to be strong. Sometimes you need to win like this. We can't always play well.
“The season is still long and we need these points and have a winning mentality. It's not important who scores. The most important thing is the team, fight for each other, help each other. We are doing what we love, we should be like a family helping each other.”
Alli could come back into the squad for the Europa League clash against Royal Antwerp on Thursday after being omitted from the travelling party to Burnley.
“We have a very good squad. We have a match on Thursday and Sunday and I am not worried. The squad is very good,” said Mourinho.
“I trust the squad, the squad is getting more together and together. It is the feeling of a team. Even when we 'lost' against West Ham and I like to say we lost, and the team felt the pain together and coped with the pain together.”