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Pochettino refuses to blame Kane absence for United loss

Poch defended his squad against allegations that Kane’s presence would’ve earned a result at Old Trafford.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur may have lost to Manchester United today at Old Trafford, but Spurs’ manager refused to get pulled into the what-if match concerning the injured Harry Kane.

Kane, the leading scorer in the Premier League heading into this week’s fixtures, missed the match with a minor hamstring strain picked up during last weekend’s 4-1 win over Liverpool. In the post-match press conference, Pochettino dismissed the notion that Spurs are a one-man team and could’ve gotten the result had Kane played.

"If Dele Alli had scored now the question would be different. It is always about the result. You are always going to miss your main striker but it is not fair to talk about Harry Kane. It was an even game. It was a shame to lose. The chances were for one and then the other.

“It was a tough game and I think we deserved more. I feel proud of the effort and it was unlucky that in the last 10 minutes we conceded our goal. It was our mistake.

Pochettino also tried to minimize the defensive lapse that led to Anthony Martial’s second half winner for United. Eric Dier was caught ball-watching on the play and allowed Martial to get in behind him, and Jan Vertonghen’s diving block just missed.

"It is important to be calm and in football these type of mistakes happen. We must fix that and move on. We cannot change the result.

"We contained United very well. Always we were in control of the game. We had the ball but it is true we did not create enough chances to score. In this type of game if you make a mistake you lose."

Would Kane have made a difference? I think probably yes, but it’s impossible to say. The way United had set up tactically, it’s also quite possible that Kane gets marked out of the match the way that Son did.

On the other hand, Kane is the kind of player who can make something happen out of nothing. Not having him on the pitch took away Tottenham’s primary scoring threat and Spurs are obviously not as good of a team as they are with him.

Pochettino was also cagy as to whether Kane will be fit enough to play the midweek Champions League match against Real Madrid at Wembley Stadium:

“We'll see, we'll see in the next few days if he can arrive and if he will be available to play against Real Madrid. We need to assess him tomorrow and after tomorrow and then take a decision.”

Try not to panic.