News Live Scores
Tottenham Hotspur

'I had Drogba, Ronaldo and Zlatan, so Kane has no problem!' - Mourinho defends striker record

14:51 BST 22/06/2020
Harry Kane Jose Mourinho Tottenham 2019-20
The Portuguese boss has responded to Arsenal legend Paul Merson's suggestion that he doesn't get the best out of his centre-forwards

Jose Mourinho has defended his record with strikers ahead of Tottenham's clash with West Ham on Tuesday, insisting "Harry Kane has no problem" given his previous experience with the likes of Didier Drogba, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Arsenal legend Paul Merson expressed his belief that Mourinho's preferred playing style could force Kane to consider his future at Spurs during his latest column for Sky Sports.

After analysing the England international's subdued performance during Friday's 1-1 draw with Manchester United, the former Gunners midfielder said: "I think he'll have a serious think at the end of the season. I don't see him getting 25, 30 goals next season the way Jose will want to play."

Mourinho hit back at Merson directly during a pre-match press conference on Monday, rolling out statistics from his previous spells at Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and United as proof of his ability to maximise the output of top attacking players.

The Spurs boss said: "I feel a bit strange at some analysis and some comments, especially as it looks for me that have started from Paul [Merson]. I have to say I respect a lot of people like him and because I respect him a lot, I want to be nice in my answer.

"I don’t think he’s ready for a bad answer so I try to be nice and say something that people can think a little bit. First of all, Harry played his first game for six months, and if you watch and analyse the game, compared Harry Kane with Anthony Martial.

"It was a game of many chances, it was a game where the two strikers had a lot of chances. Do you give credit to my defence for Martial's game, do you give credit to the United defence for the occasions we create or didn’t create? You have to look at it in a balanced approach.

"Harry doesn’t play a game for six months. The record of goals that Harry has for me is easy for me. Go to your data and it’s easy to see how many matches he played with me and how many goals he scored before his injury.

"I had a few strikers that played for me and they’re not bad. I have a guy called (Didier) Drogba he played for me for four seasons, he scored 186 goals – an average 46 goals per season."

However, in his anger, Mourinho did not get all his facts correct. Drogba, in fact, made 186 appearances under the manager, rather than scoring that many goals. The Ivorian hitman struck on 73 occasions while playing for the Portuguese tactician.

Mourinho continued: "I had another guy who is also not bad, played for Juventus now [Ronaldo]. He played for me three seasons, he scored 186 goals, which gives an average of 56 goals per season. I had another guy who is also not bad, called Karim Benzema.

"He played for me three seasons, he was not always starting because he was quite young at the time, he scored 78 goals in three seasons, which gives a 26-goal average per season.

"I had another called (Diego) Milito, he played one season, he scored 30 goals, won three titles. I had another guy, he played for one and a half seasons, in the other half he had a big injury. A tall guy called Zlatan (Ibrahimovic). He scored 58 goals, which gives a 29 average per season.

"So dear Paul, I have lots of respect for you. I think Harry Kane has no problem at all to score goals in my teams, especially when he’s fit and fresh and has routines of playing. That’s my message to somebody I have lots of respect for."