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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Dan Kilpatrick

Ange Postecoglou rubbishes claim Tottenham now better off without Harry Kane

Ange Postecoglou has rubbished the suggestion that Tottenham are a better side without Harry Kane, but says the striker’s departure has enabled him to create a “different dynamic”.

Kane was expected to leave a gaping hole at Spurs when he joined Bayern Munich on the eve of the season but Postecoglou’s new-look side have responded superbly to the loss of the club’s record-scorer, and can move five points clear at the top of the table by beating Crystal Palace tonight.

Spurs appeared as reliant on Kane as ever when he scored four times in a friendly win over Shakhtar Donetsk in his final appearance for the club, but other players, notably Heung-min Son and James Maddison, have stepped up since the season started.

“I’m not into this commentary that we’re a better team without Harry because the last game Harry played for us he did alright in our system when he scored four goals,” Postecoglou told Standard Sport ahead of his side’s visit to Selhurst Park.

“We’d have been able to squeeze him in somewhere — and I’m being sarcastic there.

Harry Kane has excelled at Bayern Munich (AFP via Getty Images)

“But him not being there just allows us to bring different individuals into the team and they change the dynamic.

“While the way I want my teams to play has a clear structure, what I try to do is create a balanced squad where individuals can change the dynamics of it.

“Having Sonny as our No9 is different to having Harry or Richy [Richarlison] as our No9. Not having Harry there does change us as a team because we’re using different individuals but if Harry was here the structure would be the same and we’d have the same fundamentals of trying to dominate the opposition and press the opposition.”

Without Kane, Spurs have scored 20 top-flight goals so far, more than both Manchester City and Arsenal, but, in an ominous message to their rivals, Postecoglou believes his side still has enormous room for improvement.

“I still think our main growth will come in the attacking side of the game,” he said.

“Particularly in the front third, a lot of our movements are still not natural and fluent like we want them to be, which isn’t surprising. But what is getting us the goals is that we have great quality up there.”

Palace come into the game on the back of a 4-0 defeat at Newcastle and Roy Hodgson admits the Eagles have done some “soul-searching” since their hammering on Tyneside. Hodgson has called for a positive response from his players tonight, though Palace remain without key duo Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise due to injury.

“Last weekend was nothing like the performance we needed,” he said. “We’ve gone through it comprehensively this week and I really am hoping that’s not something which is going to happen on a regular basis.

“But unfortunately these days if you’re in our situation, which is not among that lofty group of clubs with lots of money to spend, you’ll find yourself a few times up against a team which, when playing at their top level on the day, are going to ask a lot of questions of you.

“On Saturday we didn’t answer those questions.”

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