Spurs boss Pochettino reveals paternity leave plan for Harry Kane
Mauricio Pochettino gave Harry Kane time off to sleep following the birth of his first baby but Tottenham coped without their star striker by beating Aston Villa 2-0 in the FA Cup third round.
Ben Davies, with his first goal for the club, and Son Heung-min both scored in the final 20 minutes at White Hart Lane to breathe life into an otherwise uninspiring Spurs display.
Pochettino made nine changes from the team that ended Chelsea's 13-match winning run on Wednesday and it showed as Tottenham struggled for their usual flow and tempo against a resurgent Villa side.
Dele Alli made a difference off the substitutes' bench in the second half but Kane was left out of the squad completely after enduring a sleepless night while his partner Kate delivered their baby daughter, Ivy Jane.
"It is better now after a 2-0 win to explain," Pochettino said. "I want to send from here a big, big heart to Kate, his wife.
"It was a difficult night for her but now it's OK and they have a beautiful girl. Harry was more tired than his wife and we sent him to sleep.
"He spent all night at the hospital waiting and at 7.30am the baby was born. The plan was for him to be on the bench."
After Tottenham clinched their fourth-round place, Kane expressed his personal joy on a day to remember. He wrote on Twitter:
Me and @KateGoodlandx had our beautiful baby girl this morning, Ivy Jane Kane at 7:30am. Weighing 7.8pounds. Amazing feeling, so proud!😍❤👶🏼— Harry Kane (@HKane) January 8, 2017
Vincent Janssen started up front in Kane's absence but the Dutchman is still yet to score from open play since joining Tottenham for £17.5million in the summer and he appeared devoid of confidence against a stubborn Villa defence.
Janssen enjoyed his best spell of the match shortly after half-time, bending a shot straight at Villa's on-loan goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, but Pochettino could not wait and introduced Alli on the hour. Janssen trudged off glum-faced.
Asked if his striker had struggled, Pochettino said: "It is true but look again at the game we played against Chelsea. Both the strikers struggled in the first half, Diego Costa and Harry Kane.
"In the second half today he started to find better space to play but we decided to put Alli on.
"It was tough but not only for him. He needs to work hard and not be frustrated."
Alli has been in scintillating form for Spurs, having scored seven goals in his previous four matches, and it was the midfielder's dummy and pass that set up Georges-Kevin Nkoudou's cross for Davies' opener.
"I asked Dele Alli if he would come and play for us," Villa manager Steve Bruce said. "He said 'someday Steve I'd love to' but I think 80 million might be too much for us.
"He certainly changed it for them. He has that quality that really top players have. I wished he had sat on his arse, we might have been better off."
Bruce handed Gabriel Agbonlahor only his third start of the season for the tie and the forward could have given Villa the lead when his close-range finish was blocked by Toby Alderweireld in the second half.
"Gabby has played all his life in the big league," Bruce said.
"Whatever has happened in the past - and we all know the stories - we have now got him in some sort of shape. I thought he lasted extremely well and was a threat.
"It's up to him now to grasp the opportunity in January in particular. In the three months I've been here he has done everything asked of him after what's been a difficult time for him."
Bruce also confirmed the club had made an approach for Nottingham Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury but said they still face competition for the 26-year-old.
"We have made an enquiry but four other clubs have too," Bruce said. "We believe he is for sale but that hasn't been confirmed yet."