There are many who are expecting on-loan Brazilian striker Carlos Vinicius to step into the Harry Kane shaped hole in the Tottenham Hotspur first XI for today’s match against Chelsea. It is, after all, the reason he was signed this summer — after a season where Spurs had no recognized senior strikers in the squad behind Kane, Vinicius was brought in on loan from Benfica in order to provide a different look from Kane, and maybe to give him a breather once in a while.
Vinicius has found his minutes somewhat hard to come by this season. While he has
three six goals and three assists so far this season — a respectable total — all of those have come in the Europa League and FA Cup, while he has only 68 minutes under his belt in the Premier League.
To hear Jose Mourinho tell it, it’s not because Vinicius isn’t a quality player — he’s just taken some time to adapt to the rigors of the Premier League. However, in comments given to the press, Mourinho also cautioned Spurs fans — if he does play, don’t expect Vinicius to come in and do the same thing Harry Kane does.
“I believe he’s adapting. To be the top scorer in Portuguese football brings you to England and then it’s not the same. It’s not as easy.
“I also believe it’s not easy at a club where the other No.9 is Harry Kane. You know that you have immediately a big disadvantage. So you need to be a special guy and a group guy, which he is. He’s always giving his best. Of course the Europa League was easier, not just because of the power of the teams we played in the group phase but also it’s a different style of play, probably more similar to the Portuguese league.
“But he’s adapting and I liked his 45 minutes against Brighton. He understands a bit more the physicality, the intensity, the need to bring himself to a different level of football.
“He’s not Harry Kane, their qualities are very different. We cannot expect Carlos to interact with Sonny with the same tactical principles that Harry does. But he’s a good player, a good guy. We’re very happy to have him. He’s been useful and he will be even more useful for us in the second half of the season.”
Today’s match against Chelsea could give all of us an opportunity to see what he can do at the top level of football. Mourinho touched on his performance against Brighton, which was a small glimmer of light in an otherwise morass of sludge. He didn’t score or even change the game, but Spurs did come out with him at the 9 with just a touch more attacking nous. That’s not much, but it’s not nothing, either.
Should he play, Vinicius will have a tall order ahead of him — line leader for a team that is coming off of two bad losses and some shocking offensive output. It would be unfair to judge him by the same criteria as we would Kane, one of the best forwards in world football. It’s also a great opportunity for Carlos to have his real coming out party, and for Spurs to show that they can compete in more ways than just “defend and let Kane and Son do cool stuff.”