Nuno Espirito Santo: Tottenham’s problems are far bigger than Harry Kane
Tottenham Hotspur’s problems stretch much further than Harry Kane’s slow start to the season, according to head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, who painted a gloomy picture for the fans still waiting for the “attacking and entertaining football” promised by chairman Daniel Levy following the appointment of the Portuguese.
Kane is yet to score in the Premier League and has touched the ball just 10 times in the opposition penalty area during his four League appearances – less than Liverpool defender Joel Matip and Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso.
Much of the focus on Tottenham’s two successive League defeats has centred around the form of Kane, but Nuno has claimed he has a number of problems to solve as his team look to build some momentum against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.
Asked to explain his problems, Nuno said: “Problems are the situation, the momentum we are in, problems are what we suffered during the international break, problems are the absence of players, problems are levels of performance, problems are we concede goals from set-pieces and that we could not sustain a good first-half (against Chelsea). So many problems that we have to solve.”
So often the solution for Spurs, Kane has become part of Nuno’s problems but he offered little explanation for why the England captain is not even getting in front of goal, let alone scoring at his normal phenomenal rate.
On the subject of whether or not Kane has been working under instruction or has been dropping deep off his own back, Nuno said: “The realisation that we are not able to build enough situations is the problem that we have. All individual situations that happen with the players – touches, actions – are a product of the team. At the same time, we’ve got to analyse and we look at the problems we have in defence. It’s the same approach in terms of analysing the situation. It has to do with the team. Our main focus must and always be the team.
“I would like to see all our players (in the box). If I can put our players six, seven in the box, it is where games are decided, I will do so.”
In terms of whether or not Kane’s failed attempt to move to Manchester City during the summer is impacting his form, Nuno said: “That’s the past. Nothing that we can say or do now or in the future will change the past. What we have to do with the past is put it behind our heads and focus on the present.”
Tottenham have only scored one goal from open play in the League and have netted three times in total, which has offered little early encouragement that Nuno’s side will be more attractive to watch than Jose Mourinho’s.
Twice offered the chance to promise supporters that he will eventually deliver the excitement they crave, Nuno instead decided to deliver a more pragmatic message.
“I wish I could, but I’m an honest person,” said Nuno. “I think we have to look at what happened. We started the season with a lot of situations. We built how we wanted to do things and we did quite well in the first matches of the season. I recall the atmosphere was huge.
“Of course, when things happen and we have problems and results don’t appear and performances don’t appear, the momentum goes. The good feeling goes away, but this is what we have to realise and we have to find a way to go back again.
“Our fans deserve much, much better than what we did on Sunday. I was really pleased and I think our fans were as well with the first half, there were a lot of positives but the second half was not good.
“So we lost that chance to recover the good feeling among us, but what I can tell and my message is clear: we are working hard, we are working very hard and the players are committed to it. Our reaction to our problems is hard work, it’s helping each other. It’s how I work, with everybody involved. This is the right path for us.
“We have to find the balance. We have to find the balance in our game. With the talented and quality players we have, when they start to gel I’m positive it’s going to be good. Playing good is always the balance between the two boxes.”