Fantasy Premier League managers were surprised to see Harry Kane (£12.6m) come on and score in Tottenham’s FA Cup win at Tranmere on Friday night.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men were 6-0 up the time and ended up winning the tie 7-0, making the striker’s introduction all the more baffling.
The Spurs boss clarified his decision in the post-match press conference which we will discuss in this latest Scout Notes article.
Tranmere Rovers 0-7 Tottenham Hotspur
Pochettino brought Kane on for a 15-minute spell in Spurs’ trip to League Two Tranmere Rovers, much to the confusion of Fantasy managers all over the world. The north London side were 6-0 to the good at that point and Kane was definitely not needed to help secure the result. It appears Pochettino was keen to allow the home fans to witness England’s talismanic striker play on their pitch in the flesh. After all, it is not too often that a World Cup 2018 Golden Boot winner and MBE can make an appearance in a competitive fixture at Prenton Park. While the FA Cup is largely seen by managers, both Fantasy and Premier League alike, as a chance to rest key individuals, Pochettino’s decision not only makes sense but is an admirable one too, a gesture that feels in keeping with the so-called “magic” of the competition. It will be interesting to see how many other top-flight bosses consider utilising their star names as they go up against lowly opposition in the third round this weekend.
“It was respect. Respect the people, respect the opponent. They’re not going to have many chances to see Harry Kane play here in a competition like the FA Cup. I think it was a great atmosphere. For different reasons, I decided to make a change and put Kane on the pitch but one of them is that It’s important to show respect to the people here so they could see Harry Kane, who is an icon in English football. It is difficult in that division to see it. It was important to see him in action.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Pochettino also explained that it was good for Kane to get some football to keep his momentum going. His late goal means he has now found the net in each of his last five games in all competitions.
“It’s important for him to score and have 20 minutes playing football. I think it was important for him and for the team an important victory and to get to the next stage of the FA Cup. It was an important fixture for the club. To be in four competitions is an important thing.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Kane was not the only key player to get significant pitch-time. In making eight changes to the side that dispatched Cardiff, Pochettino handed starts to Davinson Sánchez (£5.8m) and attacking midfield duo Son Heung-min (£8.8m) and Dele Alli (£8.9m). There were attacking involvements from them with the South Korean netting in the 57th minute, having assisted two goals already by that point. Alli was the one who set-up Kane’s 82nd minute finish. He played the full 90 minutes with Pochettino keen to give him the run out after he recently returned from injury.
“Dele was injured and now I think he’s fresh. He can manage his effort. Of course with the result, it was better for us to give him more minutes in the game.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Son’s contribution to another heavy Spurs win was, once again, highly important. He involved himself in three of the goals before being replaced in the 65th minute. The South Korean now has just one match left with the squad before leaving to join his compatriots at the Asian Cup. However, Pochettino is still playing down how much Spurs will suffer in his absence, which could last until Gameweek 25.
“I accept that and I don’t suffer with that. Sure that the squad is strong enough to push forward and to of course perform in the way that we expect. Of course, you want all the players but I’m not going to suffer. We knew from the beginning of the season that that will happen. Now is not a point to suffer from something you know is going to happen.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Ben Davies (£5.6m) played in a back three while Christian Eriksen (£9.3m), Toby Alderweireld (£6.0m), Moussa Sissoko (£4.9m) and Michel Vorm (£4.8m) were among the unused substitutes. Hugo Lloris (£5.4m), Kieran Trippier (£6.1m), Danny Rose (£5.8m) and Harry Winks (£5.5m) were given the night off entirely.
Returning from injury to again put rotation pressure on Trippier, was Serge Aurier (£5.8m). He played the entire 90 minutes and even managed to score twice, his first ever brace for the club. In fact, the two goals he scored at Prenton Park is as many as he has managed in his first 35 appearances for Spurs.
“I think it was good for him. It’s important for any player to have the possibility to score. When you are a full-back and you score and you don’t have the habit to score, always it’s special. I think he scored two but I need to see the second if he scored or not I don’t know. He did? Ok, good for Serge.” – Mauricio Pochettino
As rumours continue to circulate that he will be leaving in January, Fernando Llorente (£5.6m) performed some excellent marketing work by scoring a hat-trick. Pochettino explained that there will be discussions held between him and the player during the winter window, and the three goals scored will probably help other clubs take notice of him.
“Yes, it’s a six-month contract with the club and we will see what happens. As I explained for different players, it’s not only in our hands, what the player wants. Of course, now the window is open we’re going to talk.” – Mauricio Pochettino
There more starts for Juan Foyth (£5.0m), Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.2m) and Oliver Skipp (£4.5m), whose appearances in the first team at Premier League level have been increasing of late. Central midfielder Skipp especially impressed under the lights, and on national television, as he provided two assists on the night.
“Yes I am so happy. Always I never expect more than the attitude from the young players. They have the quality we believe but you cannot put too much pressure on them. Today they were very good, Skippy was fantastic. Of course Kyle Walker-Peters, Foyth, they are so young. I am so happy with the evolution of them.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Timothy Eyoma and George Marsh were also involved for Spurs, both featuring as second-half substitutes. Neither player is in FPL yet but Pochettino’s comments after the game suggest they may earn Premier League appearances between now and May.
“Yes, these are players who have been involved this season for us. George and TJ they were involved in the pre-season tour in the summer. I think they are players that I hope have a future with us in the first team.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham Hotspur XI (3-4-3): Gazzaniga; Davies, Sánchez (Eyoma 79′), Foyth; Walker-Peters, Skipp, Alli, Aurier; Son (Marsh 65′), Llorente (Kane 75′), Moura.
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