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Tottenham Hotspur

Pochettino explains Kane Champions League selection call but steers clear of Spurs future talk

23:56 BST 01/06/2019
Harry Kane, Tottenham, Champions League final
The Tottenham boss saw his side suffer a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in a European showpiece, with his star striker unable to make a telling contribution

Mauricio Pochettino stands by his decision to start Harry Kane in the Champions League final and has refused to be drawn on his own future at Tottenham.

Spurs headed into a meeting with Premier League rivals Liverpool aware that their star striker was short on match sharpness after an enforced spell on the sidelines.

Kane picked up an unfortunate ankle injury on April 9 that threatened to bring his campaign to a close.

He was able to work his way back to fitness in time to grace a European showpiece in Madrid, with the England international getting the nod in Pochettino’s starting XI ahead of Lucas Moura.

The 25-year-old was unable to make a telling contribution, though, after being kept relatively quiet by Virgil van Dijk and Co.

Pochettino has no regrets at having drafted a prolific frontman back into his plans at the earliest opportunity, telling reporters: “My decisions were all about analytics and thinking and all of the information.”

With Kane and those around him drawing a blank at Wanda Metropolitano, Tottenham slipped to a 2-0 defeat.

They had enjoyed a stunning run through continental competition, with progress secured against the odds on a number of occasions.

Pochettino has stated a desire to enjoy similar success in the coming years, but it remains to be seen whether those challenges will be taken on in north London.

The Argentine had admitted in the build-up to a showdown with Liverpool that he would be weighing up his options after an eagerly-anticipated contest in Spain.

He has been linked with various roles across Europe, but claims now is not the time to be discussing his plans for 2019-20 and beyond.

“I think it’s not a moment now to talk too much,” Pochettino said when quizzed on his future.

“You can interpret things in different ways. People want to compare me with different managers but we are in a different project in a different place.

“After five years in Tottenham it was so clear the project. Our ambition was amazing and the commitment of our players amazing, providing us with our first ever Champions League final.

“Now it’s to be calm, change our mind and have time to talk. 

“We’ve been playing against a team that three or four years ago was being designed to reach finals, not necessarily to win them, but to get to them.

“We are a team that has priorities that is shared with the sporting area.

“We looked at the qualities of our players but it would have been incredible to have won this trophy and surprised people because Tottenham prioritised their stadium and spent zero on transfers.

“We’re not the smartest in the class but not the stupidest either.”