Pochettino - Spurs need to protect Harry Kane
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino believes he has a role to play in dampening down the rising expectations around his striker Harry Kane.
Kane will lead the Tottenham forward line in Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley, with the 21-year-old already shouldering huge responsibility in the Spurs line-up.
Yet Pochettino insists the striker who has scored 24 goals in all competitions this season is still learning his trade and should ignore the publicity bubbling around him.
“Harry Kane scores goals and the focus is on him at the moment, but it’s important now to try to help him and manage this pressure in the best way,” said Pochettino.
“He needs to be free and feel fresh and need to help him so he doesn’t feel too much the pressure.
“We need to take this pressure and put out the pressure. We need to understand always in football in 10 months you sometimes are up or down but after it’s about performance - and how you can keep your level all season.
“He changed a lot from the start of the season. You talk to people already here at the club when you arrive and they tell us about Kane. It’s important for us to have the information about the players, so we knew him. Then it is down to developing his talent within our philosophy.”
Kane was Tottenham's match winner as they beat Chelsea 5-3 in the Premier League on New Year's Day, with Pochettino suggesting that display was evidence of his potential.
“His performance against Chelsea proved he had talent, but you have to keep this performance,” he added.
“It’s maybe difficult to keep to this level every match all season but you prove you have a skill and a good player.
“With young players, we must be careful and to try to be patient because he needs to mature and after in football when you are in this level every time you play, you need to show. Otherwise the pressure is hard, but his mind is very good and I think he can manage that.”
Read an interview with Tottenham striker Harry Kane in this weekend's Sunday World newspaper.