Tottenham forward Harry Kane has been labelled “Hero Kane” by boss Jose Mourinho after his return from injury.
The England captain made his first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury on 1 January in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
Mourinho, whose side face West Ham on Tuesday, also says Spurs have no intention of selling the 26-year-old.
“If he gives me the same he gave me against United, I will be more than happy,” said Mourinho.
Kane failed to score in Friday’s draw, had one shot on target and managed 36 touches of the ball – only goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had fewer among the players to have played the entire game.
It led to criticism from former Arsenal player Paul Merson, who said the forward would not manage a high goal return under Mourinho because of his style of play.
Kane had scored seven in 11 games under Mourinho before Tottenham’s return to Premier League action after the coronavirus pandemic.
“Harry Kane played one game after six months. I know that if he scores two goals, the talk stops,” added Mourinho.
“The only thing that I know is that Harry Kane had an incredible effort, he played 90 minutes, 94 or 95, he was training again (on Monday) and (on Sunday), he’s ready to play (on Tuesday), he’s an amazing professional, he’s super-committed with the team.
“If I have to wait patiently to score two goals or three goals in one game and then everybody starts saying that Harry Kane is back, I wait.
“But for me it’s not Harry Kane, it’s ‘Hero Kane’ because a guy that had a big surgery, has a lockdown that stopped the perfect rehabilitation, because it did, so with all the difficulties, then come to normal training only for a couple of weeks… for me, Hero Kane.”
Mourinho says the striker, who has four years left on his current Spurs contract, harbours the same ambitions as the club and chairman Daniel Levy.
“What the club can do? The club doesn’t need to do anything,” he said. “The club just need to say, ‘Harry Kane is ours, Harry Kane has a long-term contract, Harry Kane is not for sale, Harry Kane is Tottenham, Harry Kane is staying’.
“We want the same. We want the same. He doesn’t want anything different than Mr Levy wants, Mr Lewis wants, and I want. He doesn’t want anything different than us.”
Mourinho defends striker record
Mourinho also defended his record of nurturing strikers following the criticism from Merson.
“I think Kane has no problems scoring in my teams,” the Portuguese said.
|How did strikers do under Mourinho?|
|Didier Drogba (2004-07 & 2014-15)||187||73||0.39 goals per game|
|Cristiano Ronaldo (2010-13)||162||168||1.03|
|Karim Benzema (2010-13)||150||78||0.52|
|Diego Milito (2009-10)||52||30||0.6|
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2008-09 & 2016-18)||100||58||0.58|
Mourinho reeled off the goal records of strikers he previously managed, including former Chelsea man Didier Drogba, Cristiano Ronaldo, who he had at Real Madrid, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who worked with the 57-year-old at Manchester United and Inter Milan.
“I had a few strikers that played for me and they are not bad,” he said.
Addressing Merson, he added: “Dear Paul, I have lots of respect for you. I think Harry Kane has no problems scoring goals in my teams, especially when he is fit, fresh and has a routine of playing.
“That’s my message to somebody I have a lot of respect for.”